Enlarge / U.S. Border Patrol supervisor Eugenio Rodriguez surveys the Rio Grande River and surrounding environs August 7, 2008 in Laredo, Texas. (credit: John Moore / Getty Images)

Last November, a 74-year-old rancher and attorney was walking around his ranch just south of Encinal, Texas, when he happened upon a small portable camera strapped approximately eight feet high onto a mesquite tree near his son's home. The camera was encased in green plastic and had a transmitting antenna.

Not knowing what it was or how it got there, Ricardo Palacios removed it.

Soon after, Palacios received phone calls from Customs and Border Protection officials and the Texas Rangers. Each agency claimed the camera as their own and demanded that it be returned. Palacios refused, and they threatened him with arrest.

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