A West Bank woman on the final day of her birthday cruise says U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents barged into her cabin, handcuffed and detained her for no reason.
“It was horrible,” says Kristen Schroeder, reliving Monday morning’s ordeal. “It was the most mortifying experience of my whole life.”
Schroeder says her seven day Norwegian Jewel birthday cruise with her boyfriend went great, until waking up back in New Orleans docked at port, “Out of a dead sleep. And we get a loud bang on the door.”
Schroeder says she opened up and saw four U.S. Customs agents, “They had a dog come around and sniff our luggage. They had guns. They had handcuffs. They were fully decked out to the nine`s like I had done something internationally illegal.”
Thing is, Schroeder says she did do something illegal. A misdemeanor in Orleans Parish resolved last year, “I have all the paperwork to show I’ve paid my fees and did exactly what I was supposed to do.”
Still, Schroeder says she was taken into custody and escorted through the crowded boat past other cruise ship passengers, “Everybody that I had made friends with on the cruise had seen me being taken off by Customs in the hand cuffs.”
U.S. Customs couldn`t comment on this specific case but say the burden lies on the agency that issued the warrant for not updating the same computer data base law enforcement draws from.
“They have to embarrass me. And it turned out to be completely bogus,” says Schroeder.
Once the mistake was discovered Schroeder says U.S. Customs gave her a comment card to fill out, “They said this happens all the time in Orleans Parish. They`ll detain somebody and I needed to fill this out to make sure Orleans Parish is aware they are not doing their job.”
Schroeder says she’s speaking out in hopes corrections will be made so other passengers don’t have to experience her traumatic mishap.