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  Home :: Blog :: Bribing The Mexican Police Officer Skip Navigation Links
Bribing The Mexican Police Officer      
  1/23/2009 5:32:56 PM

Finally, I can join the club of having bribed a Mexican police officer.  I can finally hang up the hat and say my experience of Mexico is complete.

Last week, I had traveled to Cancun on a business trip, yes, business trip!  In the middle of the week, we had 1/2 day off.  Some people wanted to go on tours, and others wanted to just get some rest.  Few of us wanted a bit more adventure.  After a bit of waiting around, a couple of coworkers and I decided to rent a car and drive down to Playa Del Carmen and visit.  For the sake of simplicity, I will just refer to them as R and K from this point on.

The three of us got a jeep from the rental company at the hotel.  It was a convertable.  Who rents a convertable and leaves the top on?  Well, it had been raining almost the whole time since we got there.  The rain stopped that afternoon.  It was still cloudy.  However, it's not a break from work unless we took the top down, so we did.

After getting situated, we started driving down highway 307, along the Eastern coast of Mexico.  It was a straight simple drive along a chain of mega resorts.  As we got closer to Playa Del Carmen, we came to an series of speed bumps.  From our hotel southward, the speed limit along highway 307, was 100Km/hr (62.5mph).  The reason for the speed bumps were from that point south, the speed limit became 80Km/hr (50mph).  Knowing this, and having speed bumps every so often, it was not possible to drive fast.  I was the designated driver since I don't drink.  As I was cruising down the highway, not far pass the first speed bump, R asked me, how fast was 80Km/hr. As we were discussing this and doing some mental math, these two police officers, standing by the side of the highway wave me down.  Now, granted, I was not looking at my speedometer at the time, I know that I just came off a speed bump not long ago.  R remembered asking me about 80 because she saw 80.  Not wanting to cause any trouble, we tried to do what the police said.

1.  They had me drive way off the road, not just onto the shoulder, but actually, off the road.
2.  After stopping, one approached my door, and the other stood behind the car.  He first asked if I spoke Spanish.  I said no, and he proceeded with English.  He showed me a radar, with a reading of 98Km/hr.  There was no way I was going that fast.  That could have been any car.  I knew for a fact our car had bald tires, and bad brakes.  I wasn't going to drive that fast.  That said, I wasn't going to argue with a Mexican police officer.
3.  He asked for my license.  I gave it to him.
4.  He asked what I was in Mexico for, where I was going, and when I was leaving the country.  I told him we were all in Cancun for a training conference.  We were going to Playa Del Carmen for a break.  We would be returning to the US on Friday afternoon.
5.  He then proceeded to give this long speech about how I was speeding and that he will keep my driver's license.  I would have to go to the police station in Playa Del Carmen, pay US$150 to pick it up.
6.  It turned out R had ran into such a situation before.  From the back seat, she asked, "senior, can we pay here instead of paying at the police station?"  At first, his response was that we had to pay at the police station.  R asked again, "we don't want to pay in the city, can we pay you here?"  To my surprise, his response was, "you pay me here, US$120, and no receipt."  What!?!?!  What did he mean by no receipt?!?!  To top this off, R had the nerve to say, "no senior, how about we pay you here, US$60."  Again, his response was "you pay me here, no receipt."
7.  We each grabbed a $20, handed it to the officer, and he let us go.

We drove off.  K was greatly offended by what just happened.  This was the exact reason why people don't respect them.  Instead of trying to proof people wrong by doing right, they simply enforce, or even live up to the stories.

After cooling off a bit, we did some talking and came to some conclusions.

1.  We were probablly targetted.  Three foreigners, driving a rental (they have different colored plates), with the top down on a cloudy day, with an Asian driver, must be tourists.
2.  The questions about when we arrived, and when we were leaving were just to qualify us for the catch.  If we had said, we were leaving that night, he would know that we would know there was no way he could ever contact border patrol or customs in time to prevent us leaving the country without my driver's license.  I could have simply left, and came back to the US and reported lost.
3.  After telling the story, some others suggested that maybe these two might not even be police.  They might have posed as police.  In that case, it was a literal highway robbery.

K had his own conclusion.  Next time coming to Mexico, he was going to bring some fake driver's license, and fake US bills.

Despite all this, if this ever happens again, I would probably still give them the money.  A friend of mine who is an US customs agent told me that there were over 5,000 people shot recently in Mexico.  You never want to take your chances.

For me, I will just take the cab next time.  No more driving in Mexico for me.  I don't want to keep this negative image of the Mexican police alive.

Thanks again to R for talking down the price!

1 comment is found.
  
J
1/28/2009 10:41:45 PM

no wonder most insurance companies don't cover if you take your car to mexico....

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