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The Baja California Shakedown

baja surfing delimaThe $40 shakedown has long been known to be expected as part of the Baja experience. As far back as I can remember, it has been common knowledge to bring a couple of extra twenties with you just in case. That way when the local police force in Tijuana and neighboring cities pull you over and begin telling you how all of the horrible traffic violations you “allegedly” committed are enough to lock you up in a Mexican jail for the rest of your life, you can simply slip a couple of Andrew Johnson’s his way and carry on to any one of the magical breaks that Baja holds.

The crime, drug-trafficking, and violence in Baja have escalated to new levels over the last year, and anyone contemplating a trip down should really take a second look before making the trek south.

My last trip down in September of last year ended with the $40 shakedown (to be exact, I think it ended up being an $84 shakedown). Compared to some of the horror stories that have been all to common recently, I can only be thankful to have made it out of there just losing a few bucks. Sexual and physical assault, kidnappings and extortions, and every other type of despicable criminal activity have taken place on those simply looking to go on a surf trip, much of which takes place under the supposed watchful eye of the federal police who were called in to curb such behavior.

A recent article on Surfline posed the question-

“Crystal Meth, Federale takeovers, corrupt cops, international drug dealers, itinerant poachers and poor desperate people all thrown into one narrow, long, dusty peninsula that happens to have some incredible surf and is located right next to California. What’s a surfer to do?”

So what is a surfer to do? For me, at this point, the answer is simple. Until they get their act together down south, I will be avoiding Baja altogether. The $40 shakedown is being taken to new levels, and good waves aren’t worth possibly finding myself and loved ones ending up in a real Mexican hell.

Posted by Shaun on Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 in Surfing.


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4 Responses to “The Baja California Shakedown”

  • ff939606 Says:

    yeah was just down there !

  • Einstien Says:

    “Crystal Meth, Federale takeovers, corrupt cops, international drug dealers, itinerant poachers and poor desperate people all thrown into one narrow, long, dusty peninsula that happens to have some incredible surf and is located right next to California. What’s a surfer to do?”

    If your ignorant enough to think that all this is not going on in every country in the world including….Yes the U.S.A. than you have a lot to learn.

  • lance Says:

    there is always an iniot expousing relative culpability, but understand, In Mexico,there is no honest law enforcement, life is cheap and the people are desperate. Thousands of poor mexicans have flocked to the Baja to find income from touristas. tourists are their crop–when the crop fails, thousands of desperate people will feed themselves any way they can. Add to that mix thousands of “Americanized” deportees and you will have a lot of crime mostly against gringoes

  • PETE MORPHY Says:

    So what is a surfer to do?
    – TO START WITH, STOP USING DRUGS AS MOST SURFERS ARE WANT TO DO – OR IS THIS LAST PART A MYTH? IF NOT CORRECT THAN THIS REMARK IS A PERCEPTION THAT IN THE MINDS OF NON-SURFERS EXIST ABOUT SURFERS JUST AS IN YOUR MIND THERE EXISTS THE NONESENSE YOU WROTE ABOUT BAJA. AND IF CORRECT, THAT SURFERS ARE DRUG JUNKIES, THEN BY ALL MEANS STAY OUT OF MEXICO AS YOU ARE IN DANGER, BUT IF YOU STAY IN THE US, QUIT SUPPORTING THE DRUG SMUGGLERS AND DEALERS AS IT IS YOU AND THOS USING DRUGS THAT ARE FUELING THE DRUG WAR AND KILLINGS OF — MEXICANS — (NOT US CITIZENS).

    The $40 shakedown is being taken to new levels, and good waves aren’t worth possibly finding myself and loved ones ending up in a real Mexican hell.

    I HAVE BEEN TRAVELING INTO BAJA AND HAVE VISITED MOST OF MEXICO BY CAR AND/OR MOTOR HOME AND THE $40 SHAKEDOWN IS NO LONGER IN MODE, HASN’T BEEN FOR YEARS – SO EITHER YOU ARE BREAKING LAWS AND ATTRACTING ATTENTION TO YOURSELF BY DOING SO, OR YOU ARE LYING THROUGH YOUR TEETH ABOUT THE SHAKEDOWNS – WHICH IS IT.

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