Shake Down by the Mexican Police...

November 27, 2013 by
Categories: Auto Insurance, Baja, Driving to Mexico, Legal

Mexpro's Nate Watson getting bitten by the mordida in MexicoDuring my trip to Cabo San Lucas in April of this year I stopped in mid-afternoon about 20 miles south of Mexicali to have a bite to eat. I parked my pickup in a wide open field, under the shade of a tree, off the road about 50 meters, with the front of the pickup pointed toward the highway. We dropped the tailgate of the pickup, sat on it, and began to eat, enjoying a beer in the process. The beer was in a bottle suit and you could not see if it was a soda, water, or beer (first and only beer of the day).

A police pickup with two armed officers from a local village was driving down the highway and noticed one of us taking a drink from the bottle.

They drove over to where we were parked and accused us of violating Mexican law by drinking in public. They never saw the actual bottle because it was stuffed into a trash bag before they reached us.

They told me had to accompany them to their village for a blood test, and then go before a local judge. (I was not interested in a local judge/relative of the cops nor was I interested in testing the cleanliness of the village medical person.

Knowing it was a shake down, I first explained that we were not in a “public” place because we were well off the highway, parked in the shade, with our backs to the highway 50 meters away. That got us nowhere.

Next, I explained that we had to be in San Luis Gonzaga (Gonzaga Bay) before nightfall and the process they explained would cause quite a delay. I then asked what the amount of the fine was and if we could settle it with them and be on our way. That is ultimately how it was resolved . . . for 2,000 pesos.

However, it was clearly a case of “shake down” the American. Since they were armed and had radio communication in their pickup, taking off was not an option.

Through all the years I have been in Mexico, this was a first. Yup, I have paid police for traffic infractions, in each and every case I was in the wrong. No argument.

So, what was the answer? Here's an article written by Mexpro that will at least help travelers in Baja.

As we passed that same spot last week on our way to the Baja 1000, a police pickup was parked in the shade of the same tree. Wonder if they were enjoying a cold beer on a warm afternoon. I didn’t stop to ask.