I have told this story to most of my airsoft friends and up to 3 times while on the air on OPSEC Airsoft Radio, but no where do I have it written down. In preparation for my old age and in order to not forget the fine details, this the story of how a teammate and I survived a US Border Patrol check point while hauling literally a cache of airsoft hardware and props. All events described are 100% 1st-hand experience and (to my knowledge) accurate.
The year was 2004 and my team (KDO241) was in the trial phases of getting invited to the very exclusive, very fight club-esq private games scene. Operation Showboat was taking place on November 6th and being hosted by AXF / TAG at a private field in El Cajon, CA. KDO was assigned play members of a drug cartel and we were to bring some sort of drug props to be used as objectives in the game. We ended up making 20 – 1 kilogram bags of compressed bricked flour to simulate the needed narcotics.
On game day, we woke at 0330 to prep for the long haul to El Cajon, about 3-4 hours depending on Los Angeles traffic. We loaded the truck and ate a healthy breakfast (pop-tarts!)… on the road we go. About 20 miles down the highway, a slur of expletives stream from my mouth as I realize the props are still at home. Back we go. On our second departure all went well. The drive down is uneventful and my navigator (Lice) did afine job. We pass San Diego, El Cajon, Alpine and a few other small towns until we see no further sign of life. With no cell reception and low on gas, we get a broken call from our teammate Fisch that he found the exit. Now with clear instructions, we flipped around and headed back.
Little did we realize that on Interstate 8 West, there is a Border Patrol check point. The second we saw it panic set in. Nervous butterflies, tightening of chests and beads of sweat. “Lets pull over..” Lice says. “And do what, stash the gear?!” I reply in an frustrated, pissy tone. As the line progresses, my mind races as I think of the 20kg of fake narcotics, 3 AK-47s and 1 G3A3 I have in my truck bed. Granted we have nothing illegal in our possession but our panic is in full swing. Lice starts to chuckle uncontrollably and I keep telling him be cool.
When we get to the booth, we see two patrolmen to our left, one checking vehicles and the other with an M16 varient. On the far right at secondary inspection, we see 2 salty looking patrolmen with shotguns. “I am going to die sitting in my truck” I think to myself. 3 cars to go…. they are inspecting each car, going through trunks and back seats… 2 cars to go…. 1 car… our turn. The patrolman briefly looks in the cab, glances in the bed… and waves us though with a “Have a nice day”. Sigh… we are in absolute disbelief. The other cars got the full search and inspection… but us… waved right though. Not that I’m complaining but I was shocked to say the least. If I didn’t know better, I would guess that two early-mid 20’s white males dressed in khaki pants and Hawaiian shirts (remember, we were dressed for our drug cartel role) didn’t look very threatening or worth their time. We pulled into a gas station in Alpine and got out of the truck. Sweating and shaken, we collect ourselves, use the head and find our way to the game. For the rest of the day we speculate what would have happened if they did search our vehicle… how we would have been detained until they tested every gram of the prop narcotics and how we would have been all over the local news. This encounter didn’t ruin our day, we had a great time but left the props for the field owner to keep/destroy/use whatever… for obvious reasons.