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Travel Health & Safety Blog

Falsely Accused in Cartagena

A MedAire Membership client and his family were travelling in Cartagena, Colombia when Colombian law enforcement stopped them under suspicion of driving under the influence. 

The member had not consumed any drugs or alcohol before the stop. In many areas of Latin America, police corruption can be common in local districts. Often, corrupt police will target foreign travellers with false accusations which are punishable by incarceration or payment of a fee. 

Foreigners unfamiliar with local laws tend to follow the directives of law enforcement for fear of being detained without any representation or assistance. The member contacted MedAire Security Assistance for help and translation services as soon as the official demanded a bribe and threatened detention. 

The MedAire Security Specialist quickly assessed the situation and immediately escalated to their supervisor who is a Colombian-born American citizen. 

The Supervisor advised the member of their rights within the Colombian Law and then requested to speak with the official. The official was informed the member was aware of the Colombian law regarding unwarranted stops and requirements for cause for detention. 

They were reminded that requesting or accepting money as a bribe for favours while on duty was illegal and the repercussions the officer will face for violating these laws. 

MedAire asked for the Officer’s credentials to escalate the incident to our liaisons with the Colombian Ministry of Interior and the United States Embassy. These actions by the prompted an immediate apology from the arresting officer and the member and their family were immediately released.
 
The member, while shaken, was able to proceed with their vacation as planned.

MEDAIRE VALUE
MedAire Security Specialists were able to diffuse the situation before it ended with the member paying a bribe or spending time in jail through its global network of relationships.

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