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San Jose Pirate ‘Threatened to Shoot’

FCC issues second notice of apparent liability in Gabriel Garcia case

Pirate radio operators often express defiance of federal agents’ attempts to inspect and shut them down. For the pirate, refusal to cooperate can be costly. For the agents, attempts to enforce the law can be downright scary.

The FCC has issued a second notice of apparent liability for $25,000 against Gabriel Garcia, saying he failed to allow inspection of “KNRG,” an unlicensed station that had been operating on various FM frequencies in San Jose, Calif.

The commission said its San Francisco enforcement office has issued numerous warnings and notices to Garcia.

In May 2010 agents tried to inspect the radio station but were refused by Garcia, the FCC said. The next month, after the FAA complained, they attempted to inspect the station. “Garcia refused and stated to the agents, ‘Do you want to get shot?’” The agents left but reported the threat to the local police.

The base penalty for refusing inspection of radio equipment is $7,000, but the commission wrote, “We find Garcia’s misconduct particularly egregious because he had been warned several times that failure to allow inspection violated the Communications Act, and threatened to shoot the FCC agents during the June 15, 2010 attempted inspection.”

The commission in March issued a similar notice to Garcia; this appears to be a second proposed fine for $25,000.

— Paul McLane