Homeland Security Detains Pro-Gaming Caster, Seizes Hardware

Homeland Security officers detailed pro-gaming web broadcaster Victor "Spooky" Fontanez and seized his equipment Monday as he reentered the country following a fighting game championship in Toronto, Canada.

Team Sp00ky's laptop, cell phone and two camcorders were seized, according to the Detention Notice and Custody Receipt for Detained Property issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

The laptop, which Fontanez and Team Sp00ky use to stream live game coverage and prepare videos from tournaments, contained about 200 hours of footage from multiple tournaments, Fontanez told Kotaku.


Fontanez said he was on a bus on his way back to his home in Brooklyn, New York about 3 p.m. from the Toronto Fighting Game Championships 12 when the bus pulled in to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Office in Buffalo, New York.

"The questioning began when after seeing one of my bags in the X-ray scanner they noticed the multitude of wires, extension cables and converters I was carrying," he said. "They asked me what I was carrying and seemed very suspicious when I mentioned that I had cameras.

Fontanez told Kotaku he was stopped, searched and questioned him about the equipment he had and what he was using it for. After questioning him, an officer confiscated his equipment and sent him on his way, he said.

Items seized by Homeland Security can be detained for up to 30 days, unless an ongoing investigation mandates a longer period of time. Kotaku has filed an Freedom of Information Act request with the department seeking more details about the seizure and the timing of the equipment's release.

"We have a big event coming up next week, and a weekly tournament that I won't be able to cover," Fontanez said, who makes his living by broadcasting. "I can't really travel and cover tournaments without my equipment."

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You can contact Brian Crecente, the author of this post, at brian@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.