Bottoms Up

Bottoms up
by Dick Mauer

Working in Niagara Falls in the early 80's, Jim Carroll and I checked out many visiting Canadian sailors at the Youngstown, NY Yacht Club. We usually found that all had complied with immigration inspection laws by phone call to the Queenston/Lewiston Bridge port of entry. This was the policy at the time, a swell idea foisted by the BUF DD Benny Ferro that was less than useless. If an arriving boat had an alien on board needing to be documented, it was up to them to travel to the bridge for the inspection. The caller would simply hang up without telling where he was calling from and they either left or continued drinking at the yacht club. I think it was Ferro's way of cutting down on overtime for Inspectors. Ferro also never believed that illegal entry by boat was much of a problem.

Back to the story. Youngstown was a very small, picturesque town located high on the banks above the Niagara River and Jim lived close by. He had learned that the only liquor store in town had hired a guy to transport bottles and cases of booze down to the docks after it had been ordered by phone by the visiting sailors. The U.S. booze prices versus Canadian prices were dramatic and it was very profitable (probably commercial) to smuggle it back into Canada. We worked closely with the RCMP and they were interested in the booze smuggling, However, there was a snag in this info pipeline we discovered. Most of the sailors we checked out in this endeavor turned out to be Canadian cops and included a few RCMP officers. The statute, thankfully, has run.