By Ian Haupt
The Northern Light 

Boule civil case goes to U.S. Supreme Court, could expand First Amendment rights


Last updated 11/19/2021 at 10:57am

File Photo

Smuggler's Inn owner Bob Boule in front of his Blaine bed-and-breakfast. A civil case between Boule and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent has made it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A civil case between Smuggler's Inn owner Bob Boule and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent has made it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Boule sued border patrol agent Erik Egbert for harassment after the agent suspected Boule of smuggling a Turkish immigrant through the U.S./Canada border. After Boule reported Egbert to his superiors following the incident, the agent reported Boule to the IRS and other government agencies.

The case could expand the court's precedent to claims filed against border patrol agents under the Fourth and First amendments.

Smuggler's Inn is only steps away from the U.S./Canada border and 0 Avenue. The bed and breakfast has allegedly been used for illegal border crossings and drug trafficking. According to the court petition, Egbert had previously gone to the inn to apprehend people illegally crossing the border, and repeatedly stopped at the inn on his patrols.

The petition also says Boule had served as a paid government informant whose information prompted multiple arrests of his guests but, more recently, been suspected of human trafficking. Boule has a case pending in Canada.

In March 2014, Egbert learned that a Turkish national was arriving at Smuggler's Inn later that day and suspected the individual might cross into Canada illegally or meet with associates for a criminal purpose, according to the petition. Egbert waited for the man to arrive at the bed and breakfast to follow them up the driveway and park behind Boule.

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