A real tourist trap

Mexican travel more dangerous with scary arrest of innocent

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Mexican drug cartels are beheading people and massacring them by the dozens. They’ve built sophisticated tunnels under the border to ship massive amounts of illegal drugs and immigrants here. They’ve used those immigrants and others as mules to carry the drugs over.

But all of a sudden, an Arizona mother and devout Mormon who appears utterly squeaky clean became Mexican Public Enemy No. 1 because they found drugs underneath her on a public bus.

Yeah. She thought, “Hey, while I’m down here for my aunt’s funeral, why not join the drug trade!”

And somehow, according to those crackerjack Mexican law enforcement officials who swooped in on this hardened homemaker, she had the time and expertise and inclination to set up an intricate smuggling system involving metal hooks and such. Must have been a long funeral!

Hmm. Maybe the police – if they’re not bent themselves – could have just looked at the video the judge eventually did before releasing her last Thursday. They would’ve seen her climbing the bus with nothing more than blankets, water and her purse.

What a truckload of  manure that’s being dumped on American travelers and tourists in Mexico.

The truth is, it’s a great way for real criminals to smuggle drugs – put them somewhere near an innocent traveler. And it has the added benefit of extortion: Once arrested on bogus charges, an American can be encouraged to pay a bribe to get home.

What a great deal: They not only get to keep the drugs, but also a rather large involuntary tip from the oblivious tourist.

Indeed, the family of Yanira Maldonado was advised to gather up $5,000, just in case.

It’s tantamount to official kidnapping.

Thankfully, media attention has shamed Mexican authorities into releasing Maldonado – but only after a nightmarish week of wrongful captivity with the dire black cloud of 10 years in an awful prison hanging over her.

The Mexican government has apologized, but can’t give her the week back.

Moreover, not everybody is blessed enough to be bathed in the protective warmth of a spotlight as Maldonado has been. How many other targets of a corrupt government would have languished longer, or been forced to cough up the bribe money?

It’s bad enough that lawless, amoral, hyper-violent drug thugs have slaughtered their way to preeminence in Mexico, but many in the country’s criminal “justice” system are crooked as a dog’s hind leg to boot. They don’t have drug-sniffing dogs so much as money-sniffing ones.

This kind of naked extortion can’t have a beneficial effect on either Mexican tourism or cross-border relations. A lot of Americans are likely assessing the wisdom of visiting Mexico about now.

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Riverman1 06/05/13 - 07:29 am
When I moved to San Antonio

When I moved to San Antonio in the Army I had looked forward to visiting Mexico. After about six months in San Antonio I changed my mind. I'd experienced about all of Mexico I could stand.

Darby 06/12/13 - 04:12 pm
When driving out to the west coast,

going through El Paso, I decided to run over the border into Juarez, just for the adventure. So our family could say we had been to Mexico. Didn't need a passport, just my driver's license.

It wasn't all that bad. However, the traffic was horrendous, even for someone who had driven the streets of New York, Rome and Paris at rush hour and had negotiated the city of Saigon in a military Jeep.

Don't want to do that again. Seemed every vehicle on the road had banged up fenders and bumpers. No one there appeared the least bit interested in the concept of defensive driving. In retrospect, it made New York seem like Hephzibah on a slow Sunday.

Still, I guess we got the tourist view of the city and the folks there seemed nice enough. Enjoyed haggling for souvenirs in the markets and meeting interesting people.

Things have changed in recent years and I'm not the least bit inclined to do it again.

GiantsAllDay 06/05/13 - 11:54 am
Good article, ACES. The

Good article, ACES. The situation could have been a LOT worse. Her lawyer came up with a video of her boarding the bus, carrying only a handbang and some bottled water. I don't think a lot of people appreciate how much space is taken by 12 POUNDS of weed. If it weren't for this video I suspect that she still would be in jail.
Darby, I grew up in California and liked to go to TJ whenever I was in the LA/San Diego area. It was fun. I could buy some firecrackers, a fake Rolex, a switchblade knife and maybe even a nice leather jacket. No ID whatsoever was required. Upon re-entry, the US officer at the border just asked me where I was born. My fair skin and blue eyes probably had something to do with it. But I was young and dumb then. You wouldn't catch me anywhere near Mexico today, even a border town.

itsanotherday1 06/05/13 - 01:42 pm
That is funny GAD

On my first trip to TJ in 1982 I bought a nice leather jacket and a switchblade. Walking back across they asked did I have anything to declare. I said 'just me", and they waved me on through.

KSL 06/05/13 - 07:03 pm
I would rather go to Canada

I would rather go to Canada any day.

Darby 06/05/13 - 09:22 pm
I've probably seen enough of the world....

Wouldn't mind another trip to Disney World with the grandbrats though....

Even though they are long past being little kids now...

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