Border Patrol catches more reporters testing border security

Saturday, October 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) _ Two television reporters are facing $5,000 civil fines for allegedly crossing from Canada into the United States illegally.

The case is the latest of at least six since the terrorist attacks in which journalists have been caught crossing between the two countries for stories about border security, Border Patrol spokesman Ed Duda said.

The reporters caught Thursday afternoon had been under surveillance for about two hours after entering the United States at East Franklin, which is not an official crossing, Duda said.

Duda did not have the names of the journalists, who were turned over to U.S. Customs.

Customs spokesman Dean Boyd in Washington confirmed that two people had been apprehended, but could not provide details of the case. He said the fine for crossing the border illegally can be as much as $5,000.

Duda said the reporters are keeping agents from doing their real job.

``Prior to September 11 we would have dealt with them differently,'' Duda said. ``Since September 11 we've had a heightened state of awareness. We've got anthrax. We've got sensors going off. To divert our attention is not conducive to good law enforcement.''