A Mexican policeman pulled me over and took all the money I had, he didn't even let me keep a penny.
Before jumping into the story and sharing more details, I just want to say that we have spent almost 3 weeks in Mexico, specifically in Yucatan, and we drove all over the peninsula trouble-free.
We had so much fun and visited so many beautiful places like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Las Coloradas and Bacalar. During our trip, we met many amazing people and kind policemen.
If you followed our Mexican travel series on YouTube, you know that when we were in Cozumel a police officer stopped to check our scooter, only because he wanted to make sure that we and our belongings were safe and secure. You can watch the video here.
So, I just want to say that the act of one individual doesn't affect our judgment about the whole nation.
But, unfortunately, what happened to us, is not rare in Mexico. Many tourists and even locals experienced something similar or even worse.
That is why I want to talk about it and share how to deal with the corrupt Mexican police officers. I also want to give you some tips and advice which might help you to avoid a similar situation and lose your money.
How We Got Robbed by a Police Officer in Mexico
While we were driving from Bacalar, in the south, to Valladolid, we ended up in a town called Felipe Carrillo Puerto. I was driving at the time and since I wasn't familiar with the roads, I was driving slowly and very carefully, when we got out of the centre, we were about to exit the town, a policeman on a motorcycle pulled us over.
He said that I was over the speed limit, which wasn’t true at all. He didn’t have a camera or any device to check the speed.
My speed at the time was 28 km/h and before we were pulled over I saw a sign showing a 40 km/h speed limit. So I was sure that I didn’t do anything wrong and he was lying.
He asked for my driving licence. If a police officer asks you to show your licence, what would you do? You will show it, right?
I did the same, I took my driving licence out of my wallet, where I kept all my money. And, he saw the cash.
Then suddenly he said the fine was 3600 pesos and he would keep my licence for three days, then I should pay the fine at the office. He basically knew that we wouldn’t be willing to come back to that town, so I said no, that it was not possible. Then he, without any hesitation, said the other way was to pay the fine on the spot, directly to him in cash.
We’ve all heard the stories about the corrupt cops in Mexico, Thus, I realised what was happening. I didn’t offer him any money, and he put my licence in his pocket and insisted to pay him there.
I said I didn’t have enough money with me to pay the fine. Then he pointed at my wallet and in Spanish said: “whatever you have, give it to me”.
I handed him money but kept 200 pesos, but he shouted: “TODOS”.
He got 1100 pesos which were all I had and then handed me my driving licence back. Basically, he robbed me and committed a crime, while his job should be protecting us against crimes.
I was very angry with myself for letting him take advantage of me. I really wish I acted differently.
How to Deal with the Corrupt Cups in Mexico
After what happened to us, I talked to locals, friends and other people who had the same experience. I also did some research, so, now, I want to share the tips I have been given.
First: If you are stopped by a police officer and you know you didn’t do anything wrong, play dumb and pretend you don’t understand what he says. You should basically pretend you don’t understand a word of Spanish. Usually, the policeman gets tired and might let you go.
If this doesn’t work, don’t hand your driving licence to them, just show it and keep it in your hand.
Don’t keep all of your money in your wallet, hide the cash out of sight. We were lucky because the police officer took all my money, but didn’t check Bruno’s wallet since he was in the passenger seat.
The last piece of advice is to accept the fine, this is what corrupt policemen don’t want. They might give up and not give you a fine, but even if they do, at least your money doesn’t go to the pocket of the corrupt person.
If you have other tips, share them in the comment.