Getting arrested in TJ

A recently released report just named Tijuana as the number one foreign destination for Americans to get arrested, which reminded me of a misadventure not long ago…

My friends and I piled into my friend’s beat-up Toyota truck and headed for Rosarito, where we planned on getting completely and utterly wasted. It was college, and that’s about all we did back then.

So we got pretty wasted and — surprise, surprise — ended up in a Rosarito jail cell. One of the arrestees was caught pissing on a city street; the other was caught carrying an open bottle from one bar to another. Idiots.

I found my cuffed buddies sitting on the dirty concrete floor of the cell with their shoes off. They looked uncomfortable sitting right next to a toilet overflowing with fecal matter and an M&M wrapper. I laughed and asked the guards if I could be let in to take their pictures. They granted me access. I took photos — which I still have and cherish — and, in an instant when they let one of my friends out to ask him questions, I grabbed his hand and ran down the alley, tugging him along with me.

We managed to escape for about two minutes until a truck filled with gun-wielding police officers pulled up behind us and tugged my buddy into the back of the truck. They didn’t arrest me, though, yet another example of why being a woman is wonderful.

Anyway, I was still laughing and none of my other non-arrested friends understood why. In fact, they were crying and sorta freaking out over the whole incident. I, however, already had a few months of promoting for a Tijuana club under my belt, so I knew how things worked. I told them to give me all their cash.

Three-hundred dollars later, we were all piled back into my friend’s Toyota, headed back home to San Diego. The bribing system south of the border can be so efficient sometimes — much easier than all the paperwork and court dates that come with getting arrested in the U.S.

That’s what I used to think, but my Mexican BF has slowly managed to convince me otherwise. I recently told my coworker to just hand over a $20 if he got pulled over in Tijuana — he did get pulled over, twice, and got out both times with the help of good ol’ Jackson — but now, if people ask, I plan on telling them to take the ticket, go see a judge and try to do things the legal way.

If you’re pissing on a street or carrying an open container, this advice isn’t for you. You’re an idiot and I don’t really care how you get out.

But, if like my coworker you simply made a mistake driving in the chaos of Mexico traffic, do everyone a favor and don’t fork over the cash. Those bastard corrupt cops, as my BF says, are the graduated bullies of high school who’ve been pushing people around their entire lives. They are not actually allowed to take bribes, so if you tell them you want the ticket, they’ll follow you the the nearest station and you get your chance to explain your side of the story to the judge.

My BF and I got pulled over a few months ago and he convinced me that we should do things the right way (which I agreed to only because I had zero cash on my body). As it turns out, the cops were out of their juristiction and were simply trying to get cash out of us anyway — they had no intention of ever giving us a ticket. After a few moments of them slyly asking for money and my BF steadily telling them we’d rather follow them to the station, they eventually let us go — bribe and ticket free.

About Kinsee Morlan

Arts and web editor at San Diego CityBeat. Interested in art and the Tijuana/San Diego border.
This entry was posted in Art & culture. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Getting arrested in TJ

  1. Nathan says:

    Your BF is exactly right. Unfortunately, most of the U.S. Americans are ripe targets for exploitation. Kind of how most of the Mexicans that come illegally to the U.S. are exploitable. Corruption ends when the people rise up and say “ya basta.” Here’s another blog with a similar question: http://www.chrisnelson.ca/2007/11/16/baja-armed-robberies/

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