An American woman, Jessica Carver was tossed in Mexican jail after customs officials found over-the-counter Sudafed pills in her purse.
She and her husband Jordan Carver, landed at the airport in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to enjoy a vacation. Before they made it out of the airport and to the resort, they were randomly flagged for a customs inspection.
“They looked through our bags, and [the customs agent] was going through my purse and found my Sudafed,” Jessica told KSL Then said the pills were “a substance that’s not allowed in Mexico.”
The couple thought the situation would only take a couple of hours to clear up. They were wrong and she was detained for a total of 24 hours.
Hour 7 at the airport, Jessica refused to sign documents in Spanish admitting to breaking the law. At that point, she was taken to the local district attorney’s office for further detainment.
“Two other guys came up and grabbed me and threw me down on the chair while two other girls grabbed Jessica and were yanking her out of her chair,” Jordan said.
Jessica said the physical encounter left her with a sore arm the next day.
Jessica had to stay overnight under the watch of a guard. The next morning, local authorities escorted her to a doctor’s office for an examination.
“My examination consisted of ‘how much do you weigh, do you have any tattoos, do you have any scars, are you sick?'” she recalled.
The young woman was finally freed after negotiations between local authorities, an official from the U.S. Consulate in Mexico, and an attorney retained by the family for a cash fee of $1,500.
The couple said they believed they were the target of a customs scam.
“We were floored and we were dumbfounded that this had happened because of the Sudafed,” Jessica said. “I didn’t feel like I did anything wrong, and it was just frustrating. We felt like we had no rights.”
Jessica was freed after being hled for over 24 hours, then the officials had the never to ask her whether she wanted her Sudafed back and advised that they could buy more at the local pharmacy. The couple added that the resort where they were staying also sold similar products.
This is not the first incident that American’s traveling to Mexico have been detained for over-the-counter medicine and forced to pay thousands of dollars to free themselves.
A 60-year-old Chicago man was also detained in Puerto Vallarta after customs agents found sinus medication in his luggage, CBS 2 reported at the time.
He was only released after his fiancee, who was traveling with him to celebrate their engagement, hired an attorney for $2,500.
Sources: KSL, CBS 2