U.S. Border Patrol Agent Andrew Mayer walks onto a frozen lake during a patrol on the lake that is split between Canadian territory to the right and the U.S. March 22, 2006 near Norton, Vermont.

Drug arrests at border checkpoints challenged by ACLU

CONCORD, N.H. — The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a court to suppress evidence against 18 people who were charged with drug possession after being stopped and searched by customs and border protection agents last summer in northern New Hampshire.

The ACLU’s New Hampshire chapter has filed a motion on behalf of 18 people who were arrested on Interstate 93 in Woodstock in August and September, when the U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped hundreds of cars about 90 miles from the Canadian border. Thirty-three people were detained for immigration-related offenses, while 44 were charged with drug possession, mostly small amounts of marijuana.

The ACLU says New Hampshire’s Constitution is more protective of privacy than the U.S. Constitution, and that evidence from the federal searches can’t be used in state prosecutions.