Many countries have stiff penalties for drug violations and strictly enforce drug laws. If you are caught buying, selling, carrying or using any type of drug – from hashish to heroin, marijuana to mescaline, cocaine to quaaludes – you will be arrested. You are subject to foreign laws overseas, not U.S. laws, and, if arrested, you will find that:
• Few countries provide a jury trial.
• Trials are often long, with delays and postponements.
• Most countries do not accept bail.
• Pre-trial detention, often in solitary confinement, may last for months.
If you are convicted, you face a possible sentence of:
• 2 – 10 years in many countries
• A minimum of 6 years hard labor and a stiff fine in some countries
• The death penalty in a number of countries (e.g. Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey, Thailand, Saudi Arabia)
During recent years, there has been an increase in the number of women arrested abroad. These are usually women who serve as drug couriers or “mules” and who believe that they can make fast money and have a vacation at the same time, without getting caught. Instead of a vacation, they receive a permanent residence in an overseas jail and remember not all countries provide bail. If you get arrested in the US you can always call a service for bail bonds in Richmond, TX or elsewhere but abroad that is not always the case.
U.S. citizens have been arrested abroad on drug charges because they possessed just one ounce or less of marijuana. The risk of being jailed for just one marijuana cigarette is simply not worth it!
Once you are arrested, the U.S. consular officer CANNOT get you out of jail nor out of the country!
Likewise, the U.S. consular officer CANNOT
• Represent you at trial or give you legal counsel.
• Pay legal fees and/or fines with U.S. Government funds.
• If someone offers you a free trip and some quick and easy money, just for bringing back a suitcase…SAY NO!
• Do not carry a package for anyone, no matter how small it may be.
• Do not let anyone pack your suitcases for you while you are abroad.
• If the drugs are in you suitcase, you will be caught.
Do not get involved with illegal drugs overseas! It can spoil more than your vacation. It can ruin your life!