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PEOPLE & VOICES - Road Warning: Bad Police in Ciudad Constitution & La Paz

Police Extortion in Ciudad Constitution & La Paz

Recently my husband and I made a trip to La Paz (Sept, 8th.). We had left about 6AM in the morning, driving south on Highway 1. as we were entering Ciudad Constitution we were followed by police, seeing this, we knew our speed had to be the speed limit. We had just past the Super Ley store and we were pulled over by the police car, which had one officer and a rookie, at least he seemed to be. The officer was only wearing a t-shirt with a look alike badge printed on it. My Husband got out of the truck and the police officer approached the truck telling us that we did not make a stop at the signal, which was out of order. We tried to explain that we did, in fact the car behind us honked at us to go as we were probably there too long? The police knew this because he had followed us through town on the frontage road.

The officer took my husbands license and said we would have to go to the station on the next day. We explained we were on our way to La Paz and that would not be able to do so. My husband said lets go to the station now, but the officer just acted like he did not know what we were saying. After much time wasted and the officer trying to say we would have to come to the station tomorrow, we finally said "how much for you to pay the ticket?". He wanted 1000 pesos, but took 400 pesos and was on his way. He appeared to be teaching the rookie how to make money off of the Americans,
Here we had been driving for hours, pulling our boat to the Gold Cup Fishing Tournament and just wanted to get settled into our hotel. Having to deal with launching the boat and trying to get to dentist appointments and doctor appointments, we were just exhausted, so being only about one mile from our hotel, we stopped to get water, and found we had two beers in the cooler, so my husband and I decided to have a beer, since our friend was driving.

Again we were pulled over by a police on a motorcycle, and there wasn't a violation was made. The officer asked how many cervasas we've had, and our friend said only this one and this is not something we do and we were not intoxicated, in fact the hotel was just across the street. He insisted we were all drinking, so we said "okay, let's go to the station", he told us it would be very expensive, about 2500 pesos, we said okay, but we are not intoxicated and we would follow him. He didn't make a move, after much waiting the officer said we could pay 1100 pesos, again we said "let's go to the station", again he did not move, finally after knowing we were hot, very hot and very tired, my husband gave to the officer 400 pesos, he just smiled and let us go. I know we were in the wrong about paying and vowed not to do it again. Our stay in La Paz was nice, until our drive home.

This time my husband was really mad and asked the officer what did he do wrong. Never could the officer tell us what violation, we had committed. At this point my husband said "either take me to jail or let me go, I am not giving you any money. Let's go to the station".
The officer again held him for some time, trying to think of what to say to this angry American. Finally after more wasted time, he let us go.

We really need to do something about these people, we think the next time, we are going to try to take pictures of the officers.

Submitted by Ms. Birdy

1 comment:

  1. Once the shake-down starts, I get a pencil and paper and start writing down the officer's badge number, name, car number, etc. That, plus asking to follow him to the station right now seems to cool their interest. I doubt if they will permit the picture taking, altho that is a good idea, if possible.
    Later, you should report the incident to the Office of Tourism. Be sure to include time, date, location,what was said, etc. That has worked for me with police and border agents.