Customs Inspector John Spaldt

Customs Inspector John Spaldt

United States Department of the Treasury - United States Customs Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch Sunday, November 6, 1898

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John Spaldt

Mounted Customs Inspector John Spaldt was shot and killed while attempting to search two men he suspected of smuggling a Mexican liquor, known as mescal, in Rio Grande City, Starr County, Texas.

He had already made one seizure of mescal and was taking it to his home to store it when he encountered two more suspected smugglers. The men were smuggling the liquor into the county to bribe voters during a contentious election in which the corrupt sheriff had sworn in over 100 special deputies to work on the Democratic ticket and "protect" the polls.

As Inspector Spaldt attempted to search the men, one of the special deputies intervened and then shot Inspector Spaldt twice in the back, killing him. The man who shot him was arrested, but it is not known what the outcome of the case was.

Inspector Spaldt was survived by his wife and young daughter.


  • Age 38
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Texas
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Unknown disposition

alcohol violation, smuggling

Most Recent Reflection

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Inspector Spaldt,
On today, the 130th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country sand to the Service.


United States Border Patrol

November 6, 2018

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