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Man who thought he would just be passing through Logan on his way to Brazil arrested for the child pornography a customs inspector claims to have found on his tablet

A Cincinnati man who landed at Logan yesterday on a flight from Ontario and planned to leave on a flight for Brazil was instead locked up overnight pending arraignment on a charge of possession of child pornography for the more than 2,000 videos depicting sexual acts on children under 12 a federal investigator says was on his tablet.

According to an affidavit by a Homeland Security agent, after landing,Thiago da Silva Pinheiro, 42, was called out for "secondary screening" of his luggage by Customs and Border Patrol:

During secondary screening, a CBP officer manually reviewed one of PINHEIRO’s digital devices, a Samsung tablet, model number SM-T837V. In doing so, the CBP officer observed images in the tablet’s photo gallery that appeared to depict child sexual abuse material (CSAM). The device was subsequently detained, and HSI agents from the Child Exploitation and Computer Forensics group were called to respond for further execution of the border search.

According to the affidavit, da Silva Pinheiro initially said he had bought the tablet from a friend, who had not wiped its memory clean, then said his friend did give him a tablet with a clean memory and that he was shocked when he inadvertently downloaded the material from the Mega file-sharing service.

But he admitted that he continued to access the content, albeit infrequently, and made no effort to delete it.

In the affidavit, which graphically describes three of the videos, the agent continues:

I have manually reviewed certain portions of the tablet. In the tablet’s native image and video folder, I observed that the folder contained approximately 2,800 videos, the majority of which appear to be child pornography as defined by statute.

Innocent, etc.

Free tagging: 
PDF icon Complete affidavit273.7 KB

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was performed in this case. Did they already have dirt on him? Were they just randomly pawing through people's photo albums? Did he "look weird" to them?

EDIT: ...do they just do this to everyone?

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Not the 2,000+ images of young venerable children. Are you upset your porn contact was arrested?

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Does TSA have the authority to open and swipe through someones content on their devices? This seems like a warrantless search.

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If you're traveling domestically TSA can't search the contents of your phone like that, it's only customs if you're entering the US.

They had much more broad power but a court ruling last year tightened it down to contraband rather than evidence for a committed or planned crime (so the child porn definitely met that standard). The article below has a bit more on it.


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He arrived from Ontario, Canada.

I delete my social media aps and turn off all my devices when coming through customs. No need to give them anything to work with.

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If arrested or searched by CBP, law enforcement can force you to use your FaceID or fingerprint to unlock your device, but they can't force you to reveal a passcode.

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How do they force you to use a biometric? Physically?

What happens if you refuse to provide a password? Nothing good, I assume.

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requires pattern unlock; therefore, fingerprint, eyes, ... wont unlock.

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Nice job making the pedo the victim.

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The question is about a legal search which, if it is not, could mean that the pedo walks free.

So it's not about making them the victim, but making sure that the bust was legal and the charges will stick.

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No I didn't “miss the point”. You should learn how to make a point without sounding like you are defending a pedo.

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You did.

In fact you're doubling down on proving that you missed the point now.

I'll say it again. Questioning whether evidence used to arrest and charge someone will stand up to legal and constitutional scrutiny is in no way defending that crime.

Let me give you another example.

I can talk about the Supreme Court case that the Westboro Baptist Church (the "God hates fags" people) were involved in. I can even make the claim that deciding in their favor was the correct decision when it comes to protecting free speech in The United States.

That is in no way "defending bigotry" yet your line of thinking would claim that it is.

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I was waiting on some fool to give this reply. Congrats Tipsdown it was you. If you don't get the point of my question then I'm not sure you understand the Constitution.

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I bet you would have defended the guards at Auschwitz because they were following orders.

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Tell me you missed the point without telling me you missed the point.

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They were following orders, though. Your take is somewhat immature. You're 100% morally right, but you're ignoring the reality for those guards/soldiers. It's easy to look back and say they should've done x, y, and z, but there are consequences for not following orders. The men who wanted to refuse those orders couldn't do so out of fear. Think about it they likely had families to support; at best, they'd find themselves without a salary to find their children, and at worst, it's possible they could've ended up in the same camps they patrolled. If you had to choose between committing atrocities or having them committed upon you, what would you choose? That's the ugly part of human nature. The same line of thinking can be applied to almost any historical atrocity, save the transatlantic slave trade.

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Using a pedo to prove you are a constitutional scholar. Nice job. You are next in line for a Supreme Court nomination.

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The constitution applies to pedos, too.

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No sense trying to make Tipsy understand what is being said here if he is unwilling to listen and learn. You win buddy.

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The author Reece Jones has just published a damning new book on CBP, Nobody Is Protected. From the blurb:

[T]he Supreme Court has dramatically curtailed the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution in service of policing borders. The Border Patrol exercises exceptional powers to conduct warrantless stops and interrogations within one hundred miles of land borders or coastlines, an area that includes nine of the ten largest cities and two thirds of the American population.

You might recall that it was DHS's CBP who were kidnapping activists off the street in Portland and taking them to Federal office buildings for interrogations in Portland during the uprisings in the summer of 2020.

One wonders how many travelers' phones have been rifled through without suspicion. I'm sure it was just this one guy. I'm sure everyone they search is guilty. I'm sure you'll never be subjected to such treatment, cuz you've got nothing to hide, right?

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The "uprisings" in Portland were really "reactions" to extreme federal invasive presence that was not confined to federal properties.

Always turn off your devices and delete social media apps when coming through customs. They cannot force you to turn them on and log into them.

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They can't force you to power on the device and log in. If you don't, however, the device will be confiscated and sent to a lab that will, and you likely won't be flying anywhere else that day. Probable cause is not required.

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They need a warrant to do that.

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For non-US citizens they can refuse entry if you don't unlock the phone. However, you shouldn't underestimate the appetite for power that CBP agents can have.

Early in the pandemic a friend came back here with his family after living overseas for 20+ years. At one point they had an approved green card for his wife, but let it expire as they weren't here and didn't have plans to return long term.

When they arrived in autumn of 2020 his wife had a visa that was good for a twelve month stay in the US. However, the customs agents in Detroit decided that they weren't sure that she would leave the country at the end of it and wouldn't let her in unless they initiated the green card process right there in the airport (causing them to miss the connection to Boston).

They left the US about 9 or 10 months later when they were able to go to the country where their new jobs were. However, he had to hire an immigration lawyer to deal with the whole process and close out that unnecessary application properly lest it end up abandoned and bite her in the ass the next time she needed a US visa.

The thing is that it is the State Department that is in charge of issuing visas and making the judgement call as to whether the person is a risk of overstaying. Customs, as part of DHS, way overstepped their authority by doing that.

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When I post things on social media, I'm not worried that it will come back to bite me. It would never occur to me that I needed to delete Twitter and Facebook to travel internationally.

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My Android phone with full storage encryption will not do anything after I boot it up until I enter my password, no biometric access allowed until after the first password entry.

CBP (or any other law enforcement agency) isn't allowed to compel you to give over your password.

So you can just shut off the phone before passing through the CBP checkpoint (or earlier, should you desire)

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If they have decided to target you, even at random, there is pressure to "make something of it" and go fishing.

Remember as well that if you have friends on your feed or people that you follow who post shit that you don't agree with, it can still raise "interest" even though you didn't post it.

Best to not feed the lions by hand.

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The various agencies that make up DHS used to belong to other departments; the Border Patrol to the Justice Department, the Coast Guard to the Department of Transportation, the Secret Service to the Treasury department, etc.

In 2003, they were all consolidated into a Department of Homeland Security, and given the primary mission of finding and unmasking terrorists. We now have, in effect, a Ministry of State Security incorporating law enforcement both uniformed and plainclothes, border police, its own military service (the Coast Guard), and FEMA, which has the power to seize control of every radio and TV station in the country via an Emergency Action Notification.

DHS is, for all practical purposes, an American version of the Soviet KGB. As the Soviet agency did, DHS has to justify its existence by unmasking enemies of the people, so a tendency toward paranoia is wired in.

In the summer of 1975, I took a train from Helsinki, Finland to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Crossing the border, I noticed Finnish guards carrying submachine guns on their side of the border, while on the Soviet side there were men in green uniforms with "ПВ" on their shoulder boards -- that stood for пограничные войска = "border troops", and others in gray uniforms whose shoulder boards had "ГБ", for "государственная безопвсность" = "state security". The green-uniformed men went through the train looking for contraband and unwelcome visitors, even walking on top of the cars and shining flashlights into dark spaces underneath them. The men in gray interrogated us and checked our passports and visas. I could see at least one watch tower in the distance, and a strip of land at least 100 feet wide had been cleared all along the border on both sides.

None of the men openly carried any weapons, but there was a barn and a large haystack nearby that could have concealed all manner of things.

This was going into the Soviet Union; we got much the same treatment coming out.

I later learned that there was a security zone several kilometers deep that ran along the entire length of the border, and no one was permitted to enter this zone without authorization. These people knew how to control their borders. They did not have a wall. A gate in the border fence opened up to allow the Soviet locomotive to come across, couple to the front of our train, and pull us across, the Finnish locomotive having been uncoupled just short of the border. The gate had a sign on it with the initials "СССР" for "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics".

I also learned that the Finns and the Soviets had an agreement that anyone found to have crossed the border illegally would be summarily handed back. If you were looking for a way out of the Soviet Union, this wasn't it. Yet busloads of Finns came to Leningrad every weekend to get drunk; the liquor was cheaper there.

The only armed guard I ever saw during my stay in the Soviet Union was in the Kremlin, guarding an unmarked door in one of the palaces. He had an AK-47.

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