In countries like Venezuela, Brazil and Columbia where drug trafficking is rife, the authorities have seen it all and heard it all. Trying to bullsh*t them about being set up, used as a decoy, framed, innocent, etc does NOT work and being a first-time-offender means nothing!
In airports, bus stations, border posts and all other travel facilities the authorities look for tell-tale signs: women travelling alone, new passports, 2 week visits, cash of approx ZAR10,000 (US$1500), signs of nervousness like pulsating arteries in the neck, sweating, eyes darting back and forth… and many other ‘signs’ send an immediate alert.
Think you’re not being watched… think again! Think your smuggling method is new and undetectable?... think again! If the people you're running for have told you not to worry because everyone at the airport has been "paid", why are they sending you?? Why are they not picking up their own stock? Because you might be their decoy. They KNOW your chances of getting through are SLIM however, they might have alerted the authorities to watch for you coming through and when you are arrested, while all the fuss is going on, their 'main man' walks through with suitcases full of drugs! The loss of the 2 or 3 kg's that you are carrying is a small price to pay for the passage of a bigger consignment and your life is of no consequence to them.
When you’re arrested: The minute you are arrested for having illegal contraband you are regarded as 'the scum of the earth' and you WILL be treated as such. Your mom, dad, brother, even your teddy bear will NOT be able to help you. EVERYTHING you have will be taken away from you, including your passport, money, luggage and of course, the contraband you are carrying. With only the clothes on your body, you will be taken to the nearest jail and thrown “in the hole”. Solitary confinement for 7 to 21 days!
As the vultures decend NO ONE will know where you are!!! Your family will become frantic trying to find you. When they bring you out of 'the hole'... you will be confronted with people who do not speak English!! You'll be faced with Spanish, French, Thai, Chinese, Arabic... can you speak the lingo of the land? You will have entered an alien world where the only kindness shown will be from the vultures, posing as lawyers, demanding HUGE sums of money (up to US$25,000.00) to help you. Can they really help you if you pay them this money? Probably not. Does your family have this kind of cash available? Probably not. Who can your families trust? NO ONE!
Foreign prisoners are 'cash-cows' in those poor countries. Prison guards and gang inmates KNOW that your family will do everything to help you, including sending money, which they will extort from you. With the Rand exchange rate at any given time, THIS WILL MOST LIKELY DRIVE YOUR FAMILY TO THE BRINK OF BANKRUPTCY.
WHAT ARE THE PRISONS REALLY LIKE?
There are only two words to describe the conditions you will now face…
Inhumane and Barbaric. Think we’re exaggerating? Read From Behind Prison Walls
WILL I GET A SPEEDY AND FAIR TRIAL?
Probably not! You could wait up to two years for a trial and you’ll be lucky if that trial is fair. In some countries you will be DENIED legal council.
NOTE: the photo on the right looks like a clean and well run jail. We can't get photos of the inhumane prisons. The conditions are well hidden from society.
DAY TO DAY BEHIND PRISON WALLS - welcome to HELL!
There is nothing to do on the inside. Nothing! There are no 'programmes' on offer like the clean, well maintained prisons in the USA. No books to read, huge language barriers, no friends to visit you. This is a whole different ball game to what you've seen in the 'Lockdown' episodes on TV. Depending on where you are held, women will most likely be raped, often! You will be given VERY LITTLE food. You will not receive general medical or dental care. Your friends and family are expected to bring you food, clothing and money. Can they, if they are on another continent? The financial implications of this will cripple your families and the stress that will be experienced by you AND your families simply cannot be described on this site. It is something that you only realise and understand when in this situation.
Prisons in Venezuela are said to be the harshest in the world, however, our latest research indicates that many of these prisons are much the same around the world. In most, there is no running water. There are no toilets, just holes in the ground for you to squat over. A bucket will become your bath and you will sleep on a filthy, cockroach infested concrete floor. No beds, no blankets, no towels, no toothbrush, no toothpaste, no soap, no prison uniform. You will scramble for scraps of food thrown to the floor while the taunting guards laugh at you. Their mission is not to rehabilitate, but to torture and punish.
You will have NO rights and NO protection <<< pay attention to this, people <<<
In this environment, all standards, morals and conscience that you grew up with NO LONGER APPLY.
Human Rights Organisations the world over have been trying, for years, to combat the abuses in foreign prisons... to no avail. Even they are powerless.
GANGS RUN THE PRISONS, not the guards. You will have NO recourse when you are treated inhumanely by inmates or guards. You can 'complain' to NO ONE. When riots break out, and they will, you can go NOWHERE! There is NOWHERE TO RUN.
WILL MY EMBASSY HELP ME?
If you're a South African, the short answer is NOT REALLY!
Think we're exaggerating? THINK AGAIN!!
PEOPLE!!.. this is not old information from days gone by...
it's 2012. This is how it is NOW!!
Venezuela - on a guilty plea, 8 years. Possible parole after 4 but you will be released and will have to live and work in Venezuela for the remainder of the sentence, reporting to the Prison once a week. On a not-guilty plea THEY WILL FIND YOU GUILTY - 20 years, NO PAROLE.
Mauritius - anything from 10 to 60 years – no appeal, no parole. Most detainees are held for up to 2 years before being taken to trial and sentenced. Once sentenced, time served is NOT taken into account. There is no concession for good behaviour.
Peru - 6yrs 8mths of which they have to serve one third behind bars. The balance of their sentence the 4 odd years is supposed to be served in Peru working and paying their fine for being caught. They also have to report to the S.A.Embassy once a week. The Peruvian Government is trying to institute a bill that as soon as they have finished their prison sentence they are to be returned home and pay their fine here and report once a month to the embassy in S.A. (The South African Government has expressed no interest in this request from the Peruvian Government)
Thailand - Drug trafficking is punishable by death in Thailand but foreigners sentences are sometimes commuted to 100 years.
China - Death Sentence
United Arab Emirates (Dubai) - The Emirates are quite happy to be known as having an unusually strict approach to enforcing their drug laws. They are going to great lengths to enforce them. A Swiss man was jailed for having three poppy seeds on his shirt which apparently came from a sandwich he had eaten at the airport before departure. Travelers to the UAE must be very careful. Some over-the-counter painkillers are banned substances in Dubai. Check before you travel!!
CAN YOU PUT YOUR LIFE ON HOLD, UNDER THESE CONDITIONS FOR THAT LONG?