Apr 17, 2016

traveling with Sudafed cost me a night in jail... in MEXICO

Sooo I went to jail, and it was quite the experience. Quite HORRIBLE. I would recommend obeying the law ;) I wanted to write down my experience... and it ended up being a looooot longer than I thought. but for me i think i'll be glad to remember all my feelings and emotions so i can tell my kids the story of when their mom went to jail a hundred times ;) 

if you want the short and sweet version, watch @ the link below.

if you want the painfully detailed and dramatic version ;) here it is >


We arrived in Mexico after a full day of travel. We left our house at 4:00 a.m. that morning to be to the airport two hours before our flight, and we were finally there. We were walking through the airport, got our passports checked, picked up our checked luggage and were waiting to go through customs. Hungry and excited to get to the resort to order some fish tacos by the pool! Before we walked through customs a worker was going through the lines asking, “Do you have any fruit in your bags? Any food?” She was going to have us throw it away before we went through customs so we didn’t have any problems. We showed her our beef jerkey and girl scout samoa cookies and she said we were fine! We got up to the security and Jordan handed the worker our passports and pushed the button that lit up either red or green. Green for go ahead and enter Mexico, and red for stop to have your bags checked. The light lit up red, which is annoying but we were so oblivious. We walked to these big metal tables and put all our suitcases up on them and another girl customs worker, Kimberly, started unzipping all our bags and digging through everything. She didn’t check Jord’s golf case but just asked if they were clubs. She opened my purse and started going through everything. At this point Jordan’s parents and brother were all standing behind us waiting for us to be able to walk through the gate with them, because they had received the green “go ahead.” Kimberly pulled out a box I had brought of Sudafed, I had been sick for the past two weeks. It started as a sore throat, aches, and chills where I missed two days of work. It had developed into congestion and a sinus infection, I felt fine I just coughed my lung up every morning and night and couldn’t breathe through my nose. So I had been taking Sudafed to relieve pressure especially on the airplane. She said she needed to take my Sudafed back to her boss and that it could be a problem... she was speaking to Jordan in Spanish so I got a brief replayed message of everything that was being said. Again, this was super annoying. Like really?? At the time I was so annoyed that she just might take my Sudafed… I had no idea how it was going to escalate. She was gone for what felt like a long time, ten or so minutes, our family still waiting with us. She came back and said (from what I’m told) that this was a serious problem and I would have to stay at the airport and wait while they create paperwork. What?? What was happening. This was seriously SO annoying. Kimberly wasn’t the least bit sympathetic and I was beginning to be so bugged by her. Jordan asked to speak to the manager and Carlos came out, speaking Spanish. Basically, I think, telling my husband the same thing. “There is an ingredient in Sudafed that is illegal in Mexico, and your wife has to stay while we file the paperwork.” I was definitely mad at this point, so was Jordan. We tried negotiating with them, “Just take the Sudafed! Throw it away, we don’t care! We had no idea it was illegal! There are NO signs! There are no warnings! The lady told us to throw away fruit, nothing about medications!  We don’t even need a prescription for this in this States! Our shuttle is scheduled to pick us up right now, we will have to pay for another shuttle to take us to our hotel, you are making us lose that money! This is absolutely ridiculous!!!” I’m pretty sure this is what my husband was telling them in Spanish too, trying to stay calm because he can’t speak Spanish when he is too worked up or angry. (LOL) I tried explaining all these same frustrations and thoughts with Carlos and he tells me, “No English! No English!” Kimberly told me she didn’t speak English either and I remember looking at the guard standing next to the gate and asking her, “do you speak English?? Don’t you think this is absolutely ridiculous?” and she told me, “It’s the law.” I was so furious. SO frustrated. So they told us we had to wait a couple hours while they filed paperwork and that was that. At this point, our family had to go through the security gates, they don’t let anyone hang out in the customs area, you get your bag checked, or you don’t, and you keep moving through. They tried to make Jordan go with them but Jordan was absolutely not leaving my side. I love him for that and for being protective over me. (I seem to get stuck in foreign places without knowing the language more often than I should haha.) Kimberly went back to the office and got a sheet of printer paper and started taking everything out of my purse so she could write down every single thing that was in my bag, halls cough drops, tissues, mucinex, emergenC packets, propel packets, lip balm, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, cell phone, “yellow colored pills” (my doterra onguard pills) etc. So ridiculous. So we went to a little corner in the customs area that was gated off and sat down in the chairs to wait for “a couple hours”, in absolute disbelief with how everything was unfolding.


Phones weren’t allowed. Talking to anyone else wasn’t allowed. We just had to sit and wait… at this point they mentioned that I might have to stay overnight in jail and Jordan had overheard them mentioning it… but I honestly never believed that that would actually happen. I just thought this was going to be a super irritating delay and we would be at the resort that night. I honestly thought everything was going to get worked out in a couple hours. I think we were a little hungry at this point, we had left our house at 4:00 a.m, I hadn’t eaten anything because it was too early and by the time we got to our layover in San Fransisco all I wanted was a drink because I was still so tired, it was now about 4:30 p.m. We had been waiting for about an hour, Jord just had his arm around me and we were making small talk saying how ridiculous this was. Jordan asked to talk to Carlos, they said he would be right out. Ten minutes later, he asked about Carlos again. Carlos never came out to talk to us. We got no explanation. At this point I think I started to panic… this was turning into a nightmare. A customs worker was standing in the hall in front of us, talking to someone on the phone, about us. Kimberly quickly ushered her into an office pointing at Jordan and saying, “he can understand you.” Are you kidding. There were other “customs workers” who were hanging out at a booth near where we were sitting. Jordan could hear them talking about how ridiculous it was that Carlos was making us do this… One custom worker who seemed friendly started talking to Jordan… in Spanish of course. But Jordan relayed to me that he basically said he was so sorry Carlos was doing this and said he had just got off his shift and if it was him.. he wouldn’t have stopped us and would have just let us go. Kimberly came out again and I remember Jordan telling her; what you’re doing is wrong, you could have taken the Sudafed thrown it away, and that would be it. She just glared at him. I had been coughing practically this whole time. Another customs worker who just got off his shift came over and asked if we had been able to go to the bathroom or if we were hungry or thirsty?  He turned to the other workers and asked, “Has anyone offered them food or drink??” We told him we were fine but after I kept coughing profusely he insisted and went and bought us each a liter water bottle with his own money… one of the first of many tender mercies we were shown over the next day and helped heal some of my negative thoughts and feelings I had now developed towards “all Mexican custom workers.” It had now been a LONG time that we had been sitting at the airport. Jordan had pulled out his phone, and had his headphones wired through his shirt with his phone in his lap sneaking phone calls and text messages with his family, they were now seriously concerned at this point and had been making lots of phone calls from the resort. Jordan got a text from my mom, I’m guessing that Jordan’s mom had called her, and when I saw that she had texted it started to set in that this was really serious. Like that, "shoot my mom knows" feeling. Kimberly came out of her office again and brought me a phone, it was the US consulate from Mexico who wanted to talk to me, at this time she had been notified by Jordan’s family and my parents. She wanted to talk to me and was very matter of fact, “this is a frequent issue that keeps happening with travelers and we are trying to solve it because there are no signs or warnings, and it’s an over the counter drug in the US but as of now it is law so you will most likely have to the spend the night in their facility and go through the process to get released hopefully by tomorrow. You can be in contact with our lawyers.” As soon as she said that I started crying… this was not happening. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was actually happening, I still had part of me thinking there is no way. After I tried to answer her questions and talk to her through my sobs she said, “Can I talk to your husband?” So Jord got on the phone with her and talked to her for a bit, staying very calm. For a person with a red type A personality, I think it was another blessing that Jordan was able to stay so calm when I know he was fuming on the inside. I even remember him telling me at one point after I had a freak out at Carlos, “Jess you just have to be nice, I know it isn’t right but authority is corrupt here and if you are unpleasant they will just throw it back in your face even worse.” I was scared but the word to fully describe how we were feeling was frustration. We had NO rights. And it was so frustrating. We felt and WERE completely helpless. No one could help us, and even those on our side couldn’t help us. We weren’t given thorough information of what was happening, weren’t allowed to talk to anyone or communicate with anyone, and were being forced to stay put, only knowing that I would probably have to spend the night in jail. And for WHAT. I could not understand why I was being treated like a criminal… for 8 pills… to help with my stuffy nose. Just SO frustrating.
Finally at around 8:30 p.m. Kimberly brought us out a document that was 8 pages long and all written in Spanish, she gave us two copies and told me I needed to sign it. I asked if she had an English copy available and she said no, only Spanish. I told her that no, I wouldn’t sign it then because I couldn’t even read it. They tried to tell my husband, “you can speak Spanish, you can translate it for her.” But I still felt that I needed to be able to read it and fully understand it before I signed ANYTHING in this sketchy situation. They told us, until you sign it you will have to wait here. I thnk they expected us to give in and sign it but, we were fine with that at the moment.
The next 75 minutes were probably the scariest moments of the whole ordeal. I was terrified, humiliated and completely helpless. They gave us a while before they came back out this time Carlos as well saying, I NEEDED to sign the document. Again, I told them I wasn’t going to unless they could provide me with something I could actually read. They told me I needed to sign it because they had to take me to the district attorney’s office, and they couldn’t until I signed it. They told us that they had to take me alone and Jordan couldn’t come. Jordan put his arm in front of me and even though it was in Spanish I could tell that he was saying, you are not taking her alone. I’m not letting her get in a truck with you by herself to go off somewhere that we know nothing about. We told them that our parents were outside the airport right now with a prescription from a doctor for the sedated and all we wanted was for them to be able to provide us with that prescription. That wasn’t even an option for them. They told us our parents could meet us at the district attorney’s office and gave us a paper with the address on it. They left us alone for another moment. All this time Jordan is in contact with his parents and the US consulates, all of them were advising, “Do not let them take her alone anywhere!” Jordan looked up the address on his phone and it didn’t match with anything, we felt like that was suspicious and we were already untrusting of these people and the situation. The customs worker who had bought us drinks came back out and told Jordan, “don’t let them take her alone.” I was beginning to panic. What in the heck was happening, how did I end up in this situation? A living nightmare. Jordan’s parents were telling us to stay put as well, they said that they were with a lawyer and they were trying find a way to get to us, but Jordan kept telling them, the customs workers are getting angrier and less patient!! They came back out again and Carlos and another man were angry. They had the documents that I was suppose to sign and showed me that they wrote on the line, “she refused to sign.” They said I needed to go with them now. Jordan, again, stated you are not taking her alone let me come with you! They argued about it for about 15 minutes (in Spanish.) I just sat there, I think I was slowly going into shock. I kept hearing Jordan say, ‘me espousa!’ Like, this is my wife, I’m not letting her go with two complete strangers I don’t trust in a foreign country. I felt so grateful to Jordan for being so protective over me, we were both so scared and I knew how much it was killing him to have his wife be put in this situation and to be completely helpless. He kept saying, “I should have said they were my pills… why didn’t I think of that! If I would have known it was going to turn into this I would have said they were mine!” The customs workers were dressed in shorts and hoodies, the only sign of “authority” was a nametag that they each wore clipped to their shirt. Everything felt so unofficial, and extremely uncomfortable. Carlos turned to me and started talking to me, “You need to come with us, this is very routine, this happens all the time. You only need to come to the district attorney’s office and then our part is over, the rest is up to them.” This was the same man who told me he couldn’t speak English 7 hours earlier… I had no trust for these people. I told him that I didn’t trust him because I didn’t know him and all he said was, “you have to trust me.” Jordan was still saying that they couldn’t take me alone and we would sit there all night if we had to.
There was more arguing and Carlos was getting angrier and told Kimberly and another woman customs worker to force me to come… they told us earlier that they were not allowed to touch us. This freaked me out and I instantly started to panic. Jordan put his arm in front of me and said, “take your hands off her!” Carlos and another customs worker grabbed Jordan and shoved him down in the chair, holding him down even though he wasn’t struggling while Kimberly and another girl pulled my arm up from the chair, pressed my arm behind my back, squeezing my arm and my wrist while both their arms were wrapped around me as they were literally dragging me away from Jordan. This was a nightmare. I went into full blown panic and started screaming at them to let go of me and that this was so inappropriate, that they were hurting me! Kimberly just kept yelling right in my face, “Por favor! Por favor! Por favor!” I was SO bothered by this… why was she saying that. I yelled in English back in her face, “No, you please! Please! Please!” Like why are you saying that. This is dramatic, I know, but in that moment I felt that her eyes were evil, I could tell she wanted to hurt me and she squeezed my arm and wrist with her hands even tighter. I was SO scared. So embarrassed. So frustrated. This was by far the worst moment. I felt a strong sense of hate toward Kimberly and for whatever reason she reciprocated it. While I was being taken away the man who bought us drinks came out and told the men who were “holding Jordan down” (if only they knew they literally could not hold him if he didn’t allow it) "just let him go with her!!" So just like that they let go of Jordan, Jordan grabbed our suitcases and started running through the airport towards me. He told the girls, “you are hurting her! Let go of her!” they told him in spanish, “if she calms down we will.” So Jord told me, Jess if you just stop struggling they will let go. I held still and one of the girls let go right away, but Kimberly wouldn’t let go… she literally had her arms wrapped around my entire waist, it was ridiculous. She squeezed my arms and wrist tight one more time and then let go of me. EW. We were standing by the back doors of the airport, waiting for one of the men to go get the truck. I full on looked at Carlos and said, “Do you promise I can trust you?” –like pathetic half sobbing, but I was SO scared I didn’t know how else to get any reassurance. We got into the truck with Carlos, another customs worker, Kimberly, and Jordan.


We drove about 25 minutes to the district attorney’s office but I was still sure they were going to drive us to some field and kill us for how much trouble we’d caused them at this point. I’ve seen too many movies! I felt like I was in a movie! Jordan was texting his parents the entire time, “we are turning left at the gas station, just passed a movie store, just turned by a Walmart.” Think we were paranoid much? They were following our trail in a taxi. We get to the district attorney’s office finally… a complete dump. At this point it is midnight and I’m just thinking, what the heck is the district attorney doing at his office at midnight. I believe I was in shock at this point. I had been so terrified at the airport and driving here that I slowly was just going numb. They made everyone get out of the car except the driver and me. Again, even though our family was now right outside the car and we were at the “district attorney’s office” I was so scared.  In my mind I just pictured the driver taking off with me finally alone. My family was with the LDS stake president, who had called a lawyer that he knew of. I looked out the window at my family and couldn’t even smile at them. This was all just too weird. I didn’t feel humane anymore. (I’m so dramatic, I know. But these are the honest feelings because in the moment, this was so traumatic.) Finally they let me out of the car and walked me into the building, through a locked, barred entry. My family had to stay outside. I walked in- straight past my family without even looking at them- and sat down on a chair, there were two secretaries sitting at a combined desk, every inch of space was stacked with papers. I think I really was in shock from being so scared because I can’t remember anything that happened over the next hour. I didn’t realize that I couldn’t remember until the reporter from KSL was questioning me and I got to this point of the story and realized, I really don’t know what happened. I just remember sitting in the chair, and finally Jordan was able to come inside and talk to some people, my lawyer was there, then next thing I know Jordan was bringing me a box of pizza (that his parents brought from the airport,) a water bottle, granola bars, beef jerky. (I told him to take it all back because I literally could not eat one thing,) a jacket and a blanket because they said the cell was cold, and a travel neck pillow. Then they walked me into a back room of the building. The t.v. was blaring and there were two desks, a chair and a couch. They had me sit down on the couch. My lawyer convinced them to at least let me stay upstairs so I could be more comfortable since I obviously wasn’t a dangerous criminal and didn’t need to be locked up in a cell.  They made everyone leave. I was just going through motions.


They introduced me to the guard, a man who spoke NO English. He was going to be guarding me all night. Jordan gave me a hug and told me how much he loved me and I remember laying down on the couch toward the inside, wrapped my shirt around my head, put the blanket over myself (even though it was so hot I still just felt like I wanted it over me) and cried for about one minute. Then I stopped and couldn’t cry anymore. I was just completely numb. The t.v. was still blaring and the lights were on. Everyone was gone except the guard. I don’t know how much time had passed but the guard came over to the couch and said, “Jessica, Jessica.” At first I thought about ignoring him. My eyes were closed, not to mention covered with my jacket and I wanted to just pretend like I was asleep. But he said my name again so I sat up and looked at him. He was speaking in Spanish, but motioning for me to stand up. I was still in a daze so I put my shoes on, (4 inch wedge heels of course) and stood up he motioned for me to grab my stuff and follow him. I just did what he said. He walked me out of that back room and towards these big cement stairs that went into the basement. He had me walk down the stairs and it instantly felt and smelled musty. You could literally hear eerie drips echoing. Everything was concrete. Of course my eyes went straight to the giant dead cockroach in the middle of the floor. There were six jail cells, all of them were empty. He walked me towards the first one and motioned for me to go inside. Why why why why why why. There was a metal “bed” connected to the wall and another one above it, like bunk beds but both just made of wire. There was a thin plastic mattress on the bottom bed. The guard grabbed it off the bed and laid it on the floor, motioning for me to lie down and go to sleep. I sat on the very edge of the metal bed frame… there was a crusted blanket squished in the corner of the wall and the bed. The guard started to walk off and then came back and motioned for me to get down on the mattress again. I just stared at him and sat down on the mattress. He was going to shut the “bars” (I don’t really know what you call a door in a jail cell.) But then he looked at me and was asking me if I wanted the “door” open or closed. I just stared at him again…. Open. So he left it open and pointed toward the ceiling where there was a camera faced straight on me. There was a toilet in the corner of the cell, and I spotted another dead cockroach. It was completely disgusting. I sat there criss-cross on the mattress and had little sips of my water, my stomach felt so empty but I didn’t feel hungry at all. I was sure that if I tried to eat the granola bar I would throw up. I sat there and started looking around, but I kept getting freaked out with all the dead cockroaches. I wrapped the blanket all the way around me, and no it wasn’t cold. I don’t know what they were talking about but it was the least bit cold, it was actually uncomfortably warm. But I still wanted the blanket around me even though I was so sweaty and uncomfortable. I wrapped my jacket around my head again and just put my head down in my hands and just prayed and prayed and tried to sing primary songs. I felt nothing, just still completely numb. I prayed and begged to feel comfort from my Heavenly Father, but I still felt nothing. I was BORED. I was so tired but the image of all the dead cockroaches and tiny little gnats crawling all around the floor kept me from lying down. Not to mention who knows what had been on this plastic mattress. I kept hearing a “scurrying” sound and imagined the scene there would be if an actual mouse crawled out. I couldn’t actually believe where I was. I honestly never thought I would find myself spending the night in a jail cell. In Mexico. My prayers turned from, “please comfort me” to “please let it be morning!” It felt like hours that I was just sitting there criss-cross trying to keep my brain entertained. There was a tiny slit of a gap that led to the outside in each cell, and the cars never stopped zooming past blaring their music. I have no idea how long it had been but I started to hear footsteps and the guard came back downstairs. He looked at me and motioned with his hands beside his head, “no sleep?” and shrugged his shoulders, he really was confused by this. I again, stared at him in disbelief and just said, “no.” No, I can’t sleep with the image of cockroaches and mice and gnats crawling all over me, I don’t even go camping. He pointed up with his finger and raised his eyebrows, “yes” I nodded my head. PLEASE take me back up stairs. I still didn’t know what time it was, it was still dark outside. He had me sit down on the couch again, I sat down and closed my eyes and said a prayer. Thank you for letting him bring me back up from that nasty jail cell. It was honestly a small comfort. I closed my eyes and continued to pray, never falling asleep. I don’t know how long it had been but it got light outside, and I could hear a literal rooster somewhere out there. For some reason I thought that was funny. I opened my eyes and started staring at the security camera screen in the corner of the office, there were two 8X8 t.v.’s stacked on top of each other. The top one showed just outside the door of the room I was staying in and part of the street. The bottom one pointed right on the cell that I had spent the night in. I could just imagine the guard watching the t.v’s thinking, why the heck doesn’t she just lay down and get some sleep? Haha.


I just sat there on the couch, STARING at the screen pointing to the outside, praying to see Jordan walk up to the door any second. They told him he could come back at 9:00 a.m. to bring me food. I resulted back to the few Spanish phrases my third grade teacher taught me and asked the guard, “Que hora es?” He looked at his watch and told me, it was 7:20. NOOOOO. Still so early. Sat there for a while more and finally had to use the bathroom so I asked, “el baƱo?” That was officially the extent of my Spanish knowledge. He walked me toward the bathroom and let me use it. I was so gross, I could literally smell myself from sweating all night. It just made me feel more embarrassed and self conscious. I sat on the couch again and waited more. Another man who was dressed like a cop finally walked in the room, he could speak English. “Hi Jessica!” He came in and sat down with the guard next to me and asked me a bunch of questions, how old I was, when my birthday was, what my occupation was, my address, etc. After I completed the questionnaire he had me stand up holding a piece of printer paper with my name on it and I literally had to take a mug shot. I say literally because I’ve been pretty sheltered and innocent my whole life and yes, things like getting your mug shot taken, is a pretty unbelievable big deal. For a second I thought, do I smile? Don’t worry, I didn’t. But it was super awkward. I sat back down on the couch and waited some more. There was a knock on the door. The door had a metal hatch on the front of it, the guard opened it up and I could hear Jordan’s voice saying something in Spanish to the guard. My heart about melted. It was SO good to hear his voice, even though I didn’t know what he was saying. The guard opened the door and Jordan had a sack full of food. Jordan handed him a yogurt, apple, orange, orange juice, granola bar for me, and one of each for the guard as well. (Obviously still trying the suck-up strategy.) The guard went to set his things down, leaving Jordan outside with the door opened and Jordan mouthed to me, “ARE YOU OKAY?” I nodded my head. I wished he could come inside SO bad. But even just seeing his face I literally felt like he was an angel, I can’t describe it except that I could feel his concern and I knew how much I loved him and was so grateful for him. The guard shut the door, leaving Jordan outside on the dusty street to just wait some more. Other workers started showing up, two girls who came into the back room where we were sitting came in, their hair was still wet from their morning shower and I was honestly so jealous. They glanced at me and then said something in Spanish to the guard... they all started laughing. I felt like an idiot. They carried on their conversation while they each got logged onto their computer. One of the girls pulled out her purse and started doing her make up, the other one was looking at her phone. Another man came in, sat down on the chair. They were all just talking to each other in Spanish and I’m like, where the heck am I. The guard who stayed with me all night packed up his stuff and left, waving goodbye to me first. What the heck. They turned the t.v. on to a channel of music videos, Spanish and English ones. I sat there for what again, felt like forever. They all left for about 15 minutes and came back a bunch of food that they sat down and started eating and laughing together. Then Jordan came into the door from the inside, with the secretary from the night before, he had more food. I still hadn’t touched the breakfast he brought me other than the orange juice I took a few sips of. He had a cheesey-egg quesadilla. He quickly came and sat by me and said the secretary let him come back here so that he could bring me lunch and stay by me so I could feel comfortable enough to eat it. I told him I still couldn’t swallow one thing, he told me just to fake it so he could stay. I started playing with the food and just burst into tears. I hadn’t cried all night but I was just instantly softened to have Jordan back by me. He just comforted me and promised me that we could just go lay in our big King size bed for the rest of the week and just cuddle and not do anything. The workers kept glancing at me and I was like, get me out of here. Jordan explained that our lawyer was suppose to show up any minute, that I needed to go to a doctor’s office to have an examination, and hopefully could try to get me out of there soon. Kelly, our U.S. consulate who we had been communicating with from the night before showed up with the director of tourism from Puerto Vallarta. She was an interesting lady and we couldn’t decide if she was on our side or not. She had me fill out a form of who they were allowed to release information too… apparently a lot of people had been calling. She also had me file a complaint against the customs workers at the airport- they had no jurisdiction to touch Jordan or me. My arm was throbbing and it hit me that it was because of the customs workers the night before.  Who knows if anything even happened with that. She basically told Jordan “we would be very lucky if she gets out of here by 7:00 p.m. tonight, VERY lucky, at the earliest.” Ya, we weren’t favoring her very much. A friend of Jordan’s from his mission had heard of what was going on and contacted Jordan, he told Jordan to ask our lawyer how much she was going to charge us, he said don’t let her tell you that you’ll worry about it once she’s out, find out how much she will charge now! He said if she tries to charge more than $1500 to call him and he would fly his lawyer down to help us. Jordan kept sitting by me with his arm around me, he asked if I slept at all and of course I didn’t. He said he hadn’t either. He had gone to the resort, said he laid his head down on his pillow, stared at the ceiling and then his alarm went off. I told him that the guard made me go down to the cell. He asked what it was like and I pointed to the TV screen in the corner and said, “well that’s it.” He kept telling me to take pretend bites of my quesadilla every time the secretary walked in the room. The music videos were still playing and Jordan tried to crack a joke, “Hey at least you get One Direction!” A worker was on the phone and Jordan was listening in, he replayed what they were saying. “Jess, they said that the doctor you were suppose to go to is dead. He just died, four days ago! They need to find a different doctor.” Again, what the heck.


Finally, at around 11:00 our lawyer showed up. She came in, looked at the prescription that we were finally able to show them and told me that I needed to go to get my examination. Two guards walked me out to a car; Jordan had to stay behind. We drove a little ways to the doctors office, got out and walked up a huge flight of stairs and then into a small office. That was a disaster. We are blessed in America for nice facilities that are CLEAN and organized. I couldn’t believe this was the Dr.’s office. They talked to the secretaries and then we sat down and waited. Apparently they called us back and the guards motioned for me to stand up and follow them, we walked back down a long hallway. The ceiling was dripping, the floor and wall was discolored there were stacks of paper EVERYWHERE. We got to the examination room and there was an examination table, two desks (again stacked with paper, I’ve come to the conclusion they don’t have a filing system anywhere in Mexico,) and three people sitting in the room. They had me sit at a chair in front of the desk and the Dr. walked in. They all started talking to each other in Spanish and just laughing away. I just sat there. Finally, the doctor sat down in front of me and shook my hand. He spoke English; he said, “I am sorry you have to go through this. We feel guilt on our side because it is no fun, but you should feel guilt on your side as well, you should check to see what is allowed here before you travel.” He said he needed to ask me some questions for my “examination.” I don’t know why there were 5 extra people in the room but they were all just getting a kick out of it. He asked if I was hurt or had been mistreated in anyway. I told him that I was fine other than felt that the customs workers had mistreated me. He apologized again and said, they shouldn’t have done that. Then he asked, “How much do you weigh, do you have any scars, do you have any tattoos, are you sick?” Plus a few more irrelevant questions. I answered all of them and he stamped a paper indicating that I was, indeed sick. The guards took the paper and we walked out of his office, and got back in the car to go back to the district attorney’s office. I walked back in and sat down on a chair, Jordan was there and again asked me if I was okay. We waited some more. Apparently they had taken my sudafed out of it's packaging to do an examination on it, Jordan said they weighed it on a scale and that was it.


Finally at about 3:00 our lawyer, a translator, the district attorney’s secretary and I sat down at a desk to complete the final “questioning and paperwork.” The secretary would ask a question, and the translator would repeat it for me. I answered them as best as I could. Jordan was standing within a gate at the front of the building and I kept looking back at him like, “was that okay?” “How am I doing?” Some of the questions they asked I couldn’t answer because the translation was too confusing for me, I looked back at Jordan and he tried to explain it to me so I could understand, the secretary eventually just let him come over to the desk to stand by us through our questionings. The secretary was looking at the prescription and reading it over, she said yes this is legitimate, but it doesn’t say anywhere on here specifically “Sudafed.” We all just froze; no one knew what to say. Jordan said he was just praying that she would get distracted. The lawyer asked to look at the prescription and the secretary started asking different questions, we all felt relieved. She then started asking what seemed like silly questions off the top of her head, “did you know that you brought an illegal substance into the country?” No. “If you did know, would you have brought it?” Um, no. Then she started googling images of “Sudafed” and turned her computer so we could see the screen, “which one of these pictures is like the pills that you brought?” Seriously?? After a few more questions she came back to the prescription, “it all looks good, but this doesn’t say anywhere on here “Sudafed.” Again, no one knew what to say, so didn’t say anything. We had no argument for that. The district attorney came out of his office and said, is everything about ready to go? Is she almost out of here? He seemed to be actually hurrying the process along and wanted me to be released! My lawyer looked at me and smiled, “this looks good!” Finally, they printed like 7 seven copies of my release document and had me, the translator, and lawyer sign each one in 10 different places. HALLELUIJAH. I started crying happy tears. I was seriously so happy. It’s not a good feeling to be stripped of your freedom, even if it is only for 24 hours. After everything was signed and “squared away,” they asked if I was still sick… Yes, I was miserable and could hardly breathe. They had my pills in a little plastic baggie and then asked if I wanted them back. Jordan and I just looked at each other. This was an utter joke. We declined. They then told us that if I decided I did need some more, I could purchase some down around the corner. HOLY GET ME OUT OF HERE. We shook everyone’s hand and Jordan was telling the district attorney, secretary translator all “thank you.” I was still a little bitter. Our lawyer gave Jordan a huge hug, and seemed genuinely happy for us, (or genuinely happy that she just made a lot of money off of us.) She went to give me a hug and told me, “go home and shower!” Ughhhh I know. The member from earlier had a man who normally worked for him at his house and told him, today you are at the disposal of Jordan. Drive him around; get him whatever he needs, help him out. Tender mercies. So Jordan called him up to see if he could give us a ride to our resort and he said he would be there in about 25 minutes… we were grateful but wishing we could get out of there ASAP. The secretary of tourism was still there and overheard this phone call and told Jordan, hey I’ll give you guys a ride right now. We left the building and walked down the street… after the longest weirdest ordeal of my life. We got in the car and Jordan sent out a text to everyone concerned and said, “We got Jessica out! We are headed to the resort now!” I felt so so so so humbled to find out how many people had been concerned for us, were praying for us, fasting for us, attending the temple, sending energy out to the universe, I was humbled. And it made me cry all over again. I was literally a bit overwhelmed by it. My mom wanted to talk but I knew I couldn’t talk yet, Jord said I’d call her as soon as I had calmed down. We got to our resort and took a shuttle to our “tower.” We headed up the elevator and got to the outside of our room and I stopped Jordan, I could hear voices inside and for some reason I was SO scared to walk in, I didn’t want to face anyone. I don’t know if I felt embarrassed, or was just wishing we could erase everything but I didn’t want to face anyone. We stood outside the door for about 10 minutes before Jordan was like, “Jess we can’t stand out here all day, what do you want me to do?” I honestly was like, let's hide they have to go down to the pool eventually! Finally I let him open the door and Ashley, my sister in law was the first person to stand up and give me the biggest hug and just started bawling, I started crying too. It was so weird hahahaha what had just happened. Everyone came over and gave me a huge hug; Jordan’s parents, Ashley, Jordan’s aunt Vicki. They offered to make me food, whatever I wanted. All I wanted was to take a shower. I felt immediately a hundred times better afterward. My family had scrambled eggs and toast ready for me when I got out, and I was finally comfortable enough to eat.
It was more humbling to hear of everything that had taken place on the other end, it affected our entire family who couldn’t enjoy their vacation with this all going on, they were probably more traumatized than we were because they would just get snippets, “they’ve taken Jessica!” “They’ve held me down and grabbed her by force!” “We don’t know where they are taking us!” It left a lot more for the imagination. I had family members still back at home, lawyers looking into it, everyone contacting the US embassy and consulate and church members and praying and going to the temple. I kept crying every time I heard something new. I called my mom, gave her some assurance that I was okay, and said that I actually did want to stay and finish my vacation. ;) Jord and I laid down and I was instantly OUT. We took a 3 and a half hour nap and I have never slept so well.  We went to dinner which was graciously paid for by Jordan's uncles, came back and Jordan gave me a beautiful priesthood blessing of comfort. In it, he told me that I needed to write everything down I could remember from this experience for posterity and also, so I could remember all of the tender mercies we were shown throughout this. So, here I am. 8,000 words later!!


Although this experience was terrible, we do feel that we were shown many tender mercies. Things could have been a lot worse, we were definitely watched over and were being protected. Some of these I didn’t find out until after everything was calmed down, some of them I realized after, and some during. I just don’t ever want to forget!

From the very beginning at the airport with the customs workers, Jordan was able to remain calm. Where things could have gotten really ugly with him losing his temper, or even hitting someone when things got physical, he was in total control. 

The kind customs worker who offered us water and was later the one who told the guards to let Jordan go so that he could come with me. Probably one of the biggest tender mercies of them all. 

The fact that Jordan could speak spanish.

The secretary writing up the document who noticed the prescription didn't say "sudafed" was distracted and didn't bring up that point again.

Jordan actually went out of the doors at the airport to talk to his family and when he tried to get back in the guards said no. Jordan completely ignored them and walked straight down the halls to the automatic doors that opened up to where I was but they never opened up because he was standing on the opposite side. The doors were not meant for people to return back into the customs area once they had walked outside the airport. Jordan pried the doors open being reunited with me again. Huge blessing he could have been separated from me at that point. 

The guard let Jordan see me in the morning, even for a brief second through the door, it brought huge comfort.

The secretary at the district attorney's let Jordan come eat lunch with me and sit with me. 

Our bishop from our home ward, had been contacted while all this was taking place. He was in contact with the Stake President in Puerto Vallarta who helped us with our connections.

The fact that a complete random member of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints from Puerto Vallarta had showed up that night at the district attorneys office and stayed the whole time and then offered his employee to our service. Jordan was going to stay the night at a hotel up the street from where I was staying in jail, this member told him not to, that it would be safer to go to the resort and that his employee could pick him up first thing in the morning free of charge.

I feel guilty that during the night that I was in jail I was praying to feel comforted… and didn’t realize I already was being comforted and sheltered. Looking back, I realized I was completely protected. People ask me the strongest feeling I had during the ordeal… and they are all surprised to hear it wasn’t fear. I was frustrated. I believe that the night I spent in jail, I was being completely protected from feeling fear. It didn’t even cross my mind that I was left alone in this building with only one male guard. I was never afraid of the guard, or never felt like I was in danger with him. Especially for me, I find this a huge blessing. I realized my feelings of “numbness,” and “shock” was my protection from fear. I’ve had anxiety attacks in the past and I was protected from freaking out, or feeling anxiety. I’m so so grateful and have said many prayers of thanks since. This was huge.

I later found out that a congregation of a different faith than mine in St. George Utah had heard what was happening and held a service prayer meeting for me… extremely humbling and more tears. Reassurance that there are good people in the world!

My family has a connection with the CIA, the man who works for them told us that he knows the district attorney of Puerto Vallarta and that he is a very corrupt man, who sometimes makes the right decision. We feel extremely blessed that he was able to make the right decision for us.

I haven’t had any nightmares, or seem to have been affected negatively from any trauma. I was able to enjoy the rest of my vacation with family, and other than feeling a little ornery at times had a really relaxing time.

My brother in law, who is a Doctor at the Mayo Clinic was traveling with us and was able to write us a prescription which helped with my release. 

We didn't have to pay jail fees. We've heard several stories since it's happened to us that people in this situation have had to pay thousands and thousands of dollars. We only had to pay the lawyer. 

The district attorney was getting all kinds of outside pressure from the US, and the director of tourism in Puerto Vallarta that we believe helped him hurry the process up to just get me out of there. 

Jordan's Aunt that had $1,500 cash on hand to give to the attorney. 

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