Every year, numerous U.S. citizens are arrested, charged and imprisoned abroad for using and/or distributing illegal drugs.
If you are caught with illegal drugs in a foreign country, their laws will apply to your case, not the laws of the United States. Ignorance of their laws is no excuse, and that argument will not hold up in court. Depending on the crime and the country, if you are convicted you may face a sentence ranging from fines and jail time, to years of hard labor or even the death penalty. Sometimes the penalties are much more severe than they would be in the United States. For instance, U.S. citizens have spent years in overseas jails after being caught with only one gram of marijuana. It’s not worth the risk!
U.S. citizens from all walks of life have been tricked into carrying drugs for criminals. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true. An offer from a new friend of an all-expenses-paid vacation abroad in exchange for carrying a small package is a huge red flag. If your new friend wants to loan you a larger suitcase or backpack to fit all your souvenirs- please be careful! These are common ploys used by criminals to transfer drugs. If you are caught carrying drugs, even if you had no idea they were there, you will be arrested.
Learn About Your Destination
Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime: Do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money. Do not leave unattended luggage in public areas or accept packages from strangers.