Jim Randolph affidavit on Customs, 12/77


State of California
City and County of
San Francisco

The undersigned, being first duly sworn, deposes and says:

My name is James R. Randolph. I am 37 years old and I live in the city of San Francisco.

I telephoned Mr. Frank Garmendia this morning, September 29, 1977, at a few minutes till 8:00 am. (I know the time because I was watching it to be sure to get the lower long-distance rate.) Mr. Garmendia is a freight forwarder for SOPAC Transport Corp. in Miami, Florida, the intermediary who receives and reroutes our ocean freight bound for Guyana, South America.

Some of the details are as follows:

Mr. Garmendia said “I didn’t want to bother you with it before, but now that is over, I can tell you. Seven Customs men held up the cargo (referring to our last shipment which sailed, I believe, August 29, 1977.) They pulled one case at random and checked the contents of it.” This occurred right about the time scheduled for the cargo to be loaded. I believe inspection took place on the dock rather than at the warehouse.

I asked if this was standard procedure and he replied that it is not. He went on to state that some of them were from the West Coast. When I asked if he said they were from the West Coast, he said, “Well, from out of town. They were not the regular Customs men I see around here. They wore civilian clothes and had Customs Agents’ identification.”

By way of explanation he said someone may have given them the idea that there were arms or drugs in our shipment and once they have been given such report they are obliged to check it out. He went on to explain that as Customs officials they have the authority to open and inspect any part of shipment.

He said they got a copy of the Bill of Lading (actually a packing list, much braver than a Bill of Lading) and compared it against the contents of the crate they opened, but that they didn’t find what they were looking for. I’m not clear as to whether they got it from him or from someone else in his office. He said they told him “upstairs” (referring to his superiors) “Don’t bother them. They’re Customs.” He said they


were done in a few hours and didn’t actually hold up shipment.

Mr. Garmendia also said big companies have big shipments in and out all the time and it would be possible for someone to put something in a shipment and get it out again at its destination without the company knowing about it, implying that could happen with our cargo and could thus have caused a report to be made to Customs.

When he mentioned the charge might have been made that we are shipping arms, I told him we would be the last people in the world to ship such things.

Dated this 29th day of
September, 1977, at
San Francisco, Calif.

/s/ James R. Randolph
James R. Randolph

Roosevelt Carrie
Notary Public