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My trip to Puerto Rico: complete with drugs, guns, corrupt cops, robbers, and prostitutes

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posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:08 PM
This is the story of my last trip to Puerto Rico, April 2011. I'd suppose we were slightly reckless. Enjoy:

It was a late April night in 2011, my long time friend friend Josh and I were having a few drinks in an attempt to find a resolution to the boredom of "just another night". It was finally the end of a long 50 hour week for both of us and we couldn't be hapier. While wandering aimlessly on the computer I somehow stumbled across an advertisement with great rates to Puerto Rico. I checked the times and found a flight leaving at 6AM and before a second's hesitation I booked two seats. After all, it was only 3AM, we had plenty of time to pack and get to Denver. "Common, we're going to Puerto Rico" I said almost in passing, waking Josh up from a deep sleep on the couch. As if this was expected he hopped up and threw his shoes on without a word, glanced back and said "lemme grab another T-Shirt". Five minutes for me to pack a bag and we were on our way.

I had been to Puerto Rico almost a year before, except the first time I was alone. The first trip was amazing and was the least planned thing I have ever done. I literally packed a bag and left at 4AM, stopped at the first bar I found and made friends with some locals. "Raffel" and "Pietro", to be exact, and they showed me a fantastic time. We went to the Bacardi factory, they took me to their family's home up deep into the mountains, to an old lady's birthday party complete with moonshine and authentic food. It was the best time of my life.

So of course as we threw our bags into the car the words coming out of my mouth were "this is going to be #in' awesome" and I immediately started calling my friends to let them know we were on our way. With huge smiles on our faces we made our way to the airport. One short flight later we landed in San Juan, PR.

After grabbing a rental I called up Pietro. He was going to be working for another few hours, what better to do then to talk to some chikas at the beach? We were out. A couple drinks, a bag of coke (first in years, what the hell? We're in Puerto Rico!), spanish women, beaches and white sand. How could life get better? Ring ring, it was Pietro.

Having spent some time here before I picked a nice bar in tourist old-San-Juan. It was packed and the energy was high, we couldn't be happier. Our friends were there waiting, drinks in hand, ready to start the night. The first drink we have is a mojito they had waiting, second is a shot of rum. All of a sudden I'm dizzy. It all fades away.

Awake. All of a sudden I can hear the voice in my head again. It's screaming at me, we're both confused. Am I blind? No, red light, its dark. Am I sitting? Who's on top of me? Am I naked? All of a sudden a door which had gone unnoticed thus far flew open, presenting a huge Puerto Rican with an gun in his hand. With one swift smack to the face with that gun my world started to crumble again. I could hear the voice still, except this time it's screaming at me: "GET THE # UP!". I'm up.

As I go for the door my senses return, there's crappy American rap music bumping and a naked (slightly stunned) girl in the room, I'm in a strip club. I made it through the club. As I approached the front door I realize I can step through it, the glass was broken, something big must have happened. Two steps outside the door I can see Pietro, he looks normal. I start to walk to him before I hear hear "hey, white boy, come here". I looked at Pietro and said "I'm runnin'", and so I did.

About two blocks away I realize I only have one shoe and my face is streaming blood. As I'm trying to figure out where I am it suddenly hits me: Where's Josh and what in the hell happened? Logically I couldn't have pissed the bouncer off enough to hit me, I was just sitting there. What did Josh do? I'm pissed. But more importantly, where the # is he? I search my pockets, no wallet but I have my phone. It's dead. I just keep running.

Some time later (no way to recall) I approach a scene outside of a bank. I can see six police officers standing in a circle, though I can't see what their looking at. I think "great, maybe for the first time in my life a cop can actually help me" and made my way to the circle. As I get closer I see what they're looking at, it's Josh. Not only are they looking at them, but one has his gun out and the rest have their batans in hand. I look at Josh, he's streaming blood from his face, hunched over and everything about him is covered in blood. He's screaming at the cops, "arrest me or make a report", breaking occasionally to call them corrupt and talk about liberty.

Quickly I assess the situation and approach the cops. "What's going on?" blank stares, no one speaks English. I yelled out to josh but he didn't respond. We did however share eyecontact and the most brief moment of relief. I busted out my dead phone and pretended to be recording, in an attempt to keep them from killing my friend. I realize one cop is speaking English to Josh, telling him to put something down (it was a peice of rubar). Right now my only concern is to keep Josh from being locked up in a strange place with a plane leaving on Monday. Keep in mind I still thought Josh had done some incredibly meschevious deed and gotten us into all this trouble.

I asked the English speaking cop if I can take him and we can just go. Quickly he says yes and I start to drag Josh away, but not before the officer reaches out his hand to give me something: it's our rental car key. Without thinking about it I grabbed Josh and we started moving. We made it a few blocks before two cops: Mendez and G. Lucia approached in their car and kept attempting to get us in the car and asking questions ("Where are you going? Where's your hotel? ect). Josh yells "no" and starts running as fast as he can, like a #ing panic run.

I catch up to him, it appears he knows where we are going. All of a sudden I start throwing up the contents of my stomach, nothing. No drinks, no food, nothing but stomach bile. We made our way to the car and got in. Josh starts driving, we're both extremely inhebriated and we haven't spoken about what happened at all.

At this point he's talking about people chasing us and the bouncers trying to kill him, most of which I thought was delusional. With a slight scrape on the rental car we were speeding down the streets of San Juan. Our hotel is in Fajardo, about an hour away, so I pulled up the directions on my phone. On the highway Josh was slightly delusional, apparently a product of the massive concussion he sustained. Going about 95 on the highway in our little rental Mazda 3, Josh slams the breaks and we skid for about three seconds before going through a toll booth barrier at about 60 MPH. He keeps going.

Ten miles later there are flashing lights behind us. A non English speaking officer walked up to find two white kids bleeding from head to foot. He's concerned with our speed, not the toll booth. "you been drinking?" he asks, which to this day I'm sure are the only words in English he really knew. "Yeah, earlier" Josh replies, and then starts ranting about the cops in San Juan. Obviously confused the officer tells us to have a good night and we're on our way. Finally we start to talk about what happened. Luckily Josh's memory is better than mine, and he fills me in:

edit on 7-1-2012 by badfish420 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:11 PM
Apparently he was having sex with a stripper when he woke up much like I did. He left to smoke a cigarette and stepped outside the club. Suddenly three men (the bouncers of the club) walked up and started beating him, kicking him on the ground and emptying his pockets (which were full of cash, of course). He got up and started running, somehow made his way to a nearby Burger King. When he got there he called the police who arrived, and while he was talking to the police the robbers arrived in a blue sedan. The cops went over and talked to the robbers, Josh saw an exchange of hands (the car key and I assume some of our money). The cops came back to Josh and told him they couldn't make a report and then left him there with the same people who beat and robbed him. Less then five seconds after the cops leave the men approach and catch Josh, start beating him again in the Burger King parking lot. After a while they opened the door to the sedan and grabbed his legs, starting to pull him into the car. Half conscious Josh saw a gun in the belt of one the men and he reached up and grabbed it and told them to get the # away (I didn't buy it until I saw the BK security camera footage). He got up and started running, eventually finding the ring of cops again and started screaming at them. The police officers refused to make a report, which is why when I found him he was screaming "arrest me or make a report".

After checking into the hotel we get Josh to the hospital. A four hour wait at the Fajardo hospital tells us that we have to wait another few hours for the truck carrying the gauze to arrive. We will later find out that Josh's arm is broken in two places and he has a broken foot, eye socket, and finger. He got stiches in ten places on his back from the door's glass as he was thrown through it. Later we tested positive for GHB, very obviously slipped to us by the same people who showed me an amazing trip a year before. On top of this Josh was struck with some severe PTSD for the following months, needing therapy to even leave the home.

The next day (our last day in Puerto Rico) we went to the police station. After a five hour wait (literally five hours of sitting on benchs waiting for someone to come to make a report) an officer arrived. At this point I've got my camera phone rolling in the pen pocket of my shirt. We know the cops here are corrupt, we know they were complicit in the robbery, and we're fearful for our lives. The officer starts to hear our story. By this time we had figured out the name of the strip club, Frenchy's,and we immediately wrote down officer names. As soon as the officer hears the name of the strip club he says "no that isn't possible, there are always two officers outside of that club day and night, always". This comes to us as no surprise and we immediately start talking about corrupt police being complicit in the robbery. The officer laughs and starts to stand up before I say the two key phrases: "FBI, ACLU". He stops laughing and simply walks away, promising to get a supervisor.

Another two hours pass before a cop walks through the front door. I immediately notice there's something different about this guy, his boots are shiny without scuffs, same with his gun and holster. He obviously takes pride in his work. He approached us and asked if we were waiting on someone, we told him we'd been waiting since 8AM to make a report and he immediately smiled and offered to help. Getting in to the same story, he stopps us as soon as we mention the officer's names. He says "you shouldn't be saying their names, this is dangerous" and then escorts us to a private office. We told him everything and then eventually got into a long discussion with the officer about corrupt police. He tried to assure us that not all of the officers in Puerto Rico were corrupt, to which we responded "at least you're not". We made our report and the officer set us a court date for June. He assured us the officers will be arrested as well as the owner and bouncers of the strip clubs (since Josh could identify them by their mug shots).

In the following month we both received several phone calls to both our cell phones and home numbers. It was the Puerto Ricans, obviously they obtained our numbers from the police files. Josh was already suffering from his PTSD and receiving death threats from crazy puerto ricans didn't help. He decided he wasn't going to PR without a U.S. Marshall, which the government doesn't like to lend out for these purposes apparently.

So now I'm taking an HIV test. Hopefully this story can remain as "the trip I was robbed" and not "the trip I got hiv". I had maybe been to two strip clubs in my life, this was not normal behavior for me. If I were lucid I also would never even have gone into that neighborhood, I know the areas of PR to avoid. This area was worse then La Perla (the place cops don't even drive on a regular day).
edit on 7-1-2012 by badfish420 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:31 PM
reply to post by badfish420

Holy hell that is intense

I'm really sorry for your buddy, PTSD, broken bones, and Puerto Rican death threats are the last things anyone would expect to bring back from a vacation

So do you have any ideas what caused your gap in memory between the bar and the strip club?

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:37 PM
What a story!
Your very own version of the hangover,I guess.
Hope everything works out for you.

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:42 PM
Very interesting,colorful and strange in a good way. Hope you had some good holiday. thanks for sharing

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:46 PM
Wow, what a life experience. Glad you and your friend lived through it. Consider yourself lucky for even surviving. What's the update on court? Are you trying to secure a Marshall or have they told you no already? What will you do if you guys can't get a marshall? I'd see if you could get a couple crazy military friends to go over with you or something, seriously.

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 04:19 PM
Violence against tourists in island countries has become commonplace. Most tourists get suckered into drinking and partying, and that's all she wrote. Whether it's Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, or Aruba, you had better watch your back, and don't accept any substances. Yes that includes alcohol.

My mother was born on Vieques, and raised in the mountains outside of San Juan. I have been there myself, and some of the locals are really scary. I have been deep in the jungle where the black women do voodoo rituals and sacrifice chickens. My grandfather, who was Basque, had a grocery store there, and always had a loaded .38 just under the counter, which he had to use fairly frequently. Mom left when she was 15 years old because she was tired of being singled out and attacked for having strawberry blonde hair. I think it's a beautiful island but I wouldn't stray outside of a hotel room at night.

I have had friends who visited Hawaii and Jamaica, both of them fell into the "friendly locals" trap, had the crap beaten out of them and robbed while under the influence. The US military has to warn their personnel stationed in places such as Hawaii due to the violence being done to anybody who looks remotely American.

Wild story, but a hard lesson learned about what people will do to you for a few American greenbacks.

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 04:26 PM
You forgot to mention the tiger at the hotel room or carrying around town an old man in a wheel chair, like the hangover? Ok in all seriousness, I am from Puerto Rico. I've never heard of such things happening here in PR. But, yes in the USA...

In recent years there has been an increase of corruption in the USA and world wide, surprisingly, here too.

What happened to you, without doubt is a behavior that would not be tolerated by anyone, anywhere in the island. If I witnesed such injustice I would do ANYTHING to stop it. I suppose police blindness was caused by recent misbehavior caused by local students, something that happened like occupy wallstreet.

Many family and friends from USA have visited the island and absolutely loved it, and keep returning year after year.

But you going out with prostitues didnt help. Using drugs and visiting low places may have given the impression that you and your friend were spoiled rich boys to some primitive folks who I bet were not even from the island either.

Anyway is the same in the USA and everywhere. I dont justify what happened but I guess that doing wrong things with prostitutes will get you in trouble, anywhere.

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 04:36 PM
Thanks for the replies. In response to the most recent one: the drugs didn't help, you're right. We were drugged with GHB, a standard date rape drug (which is apparently extremely potent). It was obviously a plot by Pietro and Raffel, they saw we had cash and drugged us, had the bouncers rob us.

You're right, this can happen anywhere, but it happened in PR. The people we spoke to said that "San Juan has changed" in the past year. Even the guy shuttling us to the rental car place said that, it was like a scarry omen. I won't let anyone I know visit that place. There are good people there, I'm not racist, but during these economic times tourists are the hardest hit by crime. Police corruption in San Juan is insane, that cannot be denied. Look at the links below:

Thanks for all of the kind wishes. We skipped out on the court date, Josh was the only one who could identify the robbers and since he was afraid to go back to PR we let the matter drop. I don't blame him slightly, having them arrested wasn't going to end up doing them a bit of good. We didn't even get the debit card money back, haha.
edit on 7-1-2012 by badfish420 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 04:57 PM
Why would anyone put their complete trust in a stranger you barely know. That was very naive, and I've seen it in movies where people fly to australia and meet some local hungry to find a naive victim. Hostel? The Human Centepide, list goes on. As the viewer of the films scream to the actors: omg wtf you're doing. Dont be stupid! Cant you see thats clearly the villain!? But of course, hormones revolving, believing fairy tales that everything is a big party. Lets go crazy, lets fly away and go wild, sex, alcohol, drugs, what can go wrong. Woo-Hoo! Mistake of the youth, a lil slap, a lesson from God that may have saved your life of future events...

Life is too precious to be wasted in continous non-sense of party after party...
Anyway I cant believe people like "Prieto" still exist, and worst, living here wheren I live o.O
What would have trigger his change of mind to suddenly betray his "friends" ? Did he really do that intentionally to hurt you? You should try to find more about him and possibly post his picture here so we can identify him.

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 05:40 PM
Yep, "youthful indiscretion" as Bush would put. Of course it was naive, the mistakes started to be made as soon as we decided to go. I put my trust in them because they had proven to be genuine people in the past. The first time I was there Raffell took time off work to show me a good time, I would have never thought he would have betrayed me. I still have a hard time believing it, for a while I thought it was just Pietro who set us up. After talking to Raffell though I felt pretty convinced he was in on it. His story changed from "I left you at the bar" to "we went to a steak house and Josh ate steak with mayo" (which I know couldn't be true, I threw up bile for five minutes).

The downfall was having too much cash. I had just lost my debit card and Josh only had credit cards which meant we were lugging around cash for parasailing, sky diving, a trip to the antenna and drinks (way, wayyy too much cash. I don't even go to Denver with that much cash).

Below are the pictures I could muster. With a little thinking I could probably find his parent's house, or at least the neighborhood on Google maps. I confronted them about it, both denied it of course. Pietro showed up the next night with clothes that still had the tags on them for # sake.

This is Raffel and his father.

Gabby in the yellow, I don't think he was complicit at all. Pietro's in the flanel to the left

Raffell's parents house

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 07:49 PM
Wow I cant believe they did that. But Im sure they will ALL pay the price for what they did. i know people like that. Can fool you, play the game, a couple of years later, dead. But thats just the ghetto world, it works the same everywhere. Thankfully thats only hidden somewhere. They cant at all explicitly do anything illegal infront of normal civilians. My father will be the first to yell if he see kids or youth swearing in public. This is a very christian/chatolic island. Despise the fact that media and ignorance wants to potray it as a bunch of mediums practicing spiritism. That is Haiti and part of Cuba.

Believe me, in the other hand, it was the easy vulnerability shown and so much advantage over the "lost gringos" which probably impulsed them to act as fools. It definitely woke those ghettos criminal instinct, thinking they could get away with their just found easy prey.

You said the mistake was to fly over here. Well that may be correct, in fact, I would not either fly to USA and get drunk with prostitutes and be friends strangers as I may find myself in trouble. Streets is streets everywhere, Puerto Rico, Japan, Canada, etc. I'm really sorry that what you wished to do as use the money for parasailing and such was ruined by a bunch of rotten scu#@ bags. And I hope justice is made. We're living in times where it can only be nice to fly to a place where our family lives or where real friends can assure us safety. Please tell your bf Josh what I've said about the island, as he may be even more affected than you because of the hits, thats really shocking, how old is he? So much mixed feelings, betrayal, injustice, abuse,. I think this are times to only search for God and nothing else :-(

How do you feel about prieto now and the other guy, do you plan to confront them in the future?

Edit : they look so fine in the pictures and nice, no need to do what they did, or to get the money that way, they look from a wealthy family, again I cant understand what may have driven their actions.
edit on 7-1-2012 by Brenidi14 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 08:10 PM

My trip to Puerto Rico: complete with drugs, guns, corrupt cops, robbers, and prostitutes

Sounds like a normal weekend in S.W.At (south west atlanta)

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 08:39 PM
Perhaps there was something you did to get them pissed at you the first time....
Perhaps somethind has changed there in the meantime...
Ya got lots of mobey dont flash it, thatll get you f##$%d up anywhere in the world....

posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 08:47 PM
reply to post by badfish420

There has always been an element no matter where you go who prey on tourists. I think it has gotten worse over the years and lately Americans are targeted more often than ever.
Even in the late 80's and 90's I remember hearing of soldiers getting the living heck beat out of them on St Thomas which is about a half hour flight away. The British Navy and the American both pulled into port and usually alternated but the Brits didn't get beaten up, robbed and left for dead - it was the Americans almost exclusively. An American sailor was beaten, robbed and murdered behind a store on the waterfront and it never made anything other than the local Tradewinds News.

I visited PR a few times for various reasons. Last time I was a guest of Plaza Cellars Winery and attended a small dinner party of about a dozen people including Sandy and Roberto Alomar, my date and a Gourmet food salesman friend of both of ours. We didn't have any trouble naturally, but if we had been on our own, drunk and bar hopping in El San Juan our story might not have had a happy ending.

I had a restaurant on St John and used to get feedback that the Brits were better behaved and the US soldiers were rude and got into fights more often. And like people say...when you lie with dogs you wake up with fleas so a lot of it has to do with where you hang. Hookers and drugs are gonna place you near the worst elements, no matter about the rest.

It is a shame all that happened and most unfortunate for your friend but it might be a lesson saving your life in the future. It might have been worse too - I know. People just vanish in foreign countries because most places the people aren't transient. FBI is powerless. Relatives live in the same place for centuries and they all know each other and the Police. You are the unpredictable stranger. Lips close up. You might have wound up in a foreign jail or like that sailor, brutally killed and the story covered up with your family getting no answers, just a harsh lesson learned.

edit on 7-1-2012 by newcovenant because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 07:12 PM
You need to contact the US Dept. of Justice. They are currently conducting several investigations into the Puerto Rico Police. Please contact them. It's very important that police corruption in Puerto Rico is dealt with so we can bring the overall crime rate under control down here. Last year we had 1,130 murders - the highest rate per capita in the entire US.

It's important to understand that Puerto Rico has the HIGHEST violent crime rate in the United States (it is a US territory) and the police are under alot of pressure to bring things under control to make the island seem better when they send their statehood petition to Congress next November.

In a blistering condemnation of the second-largest police force in the United States, the Justice Department is accusing the Puerto Rico Police Department of a “profound” and “longstanding” pattern of civil rights violations and other illegal practices that have left it “broken in a number of critical and fundamental respects.” .....

Puerto Rico is a US territory. The American flag flies over the island (alongside the Puerto Rico flag just like in every state or territory of the US). The US dollar is the currency. American laws apply (though they also have their own laws just like every other state or territory in the US).
edit on 18-1-2012 by ChrisF231 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 8 2012 @ 04:26 AM
reply to post by badfish420

Why was your phone dead outside the strip club, and when you were pretending to record the police, but worked fine for you to get the map in the car?

Cool story bro. Next time write a short story and atleast get paid something for it.

posted on Feb, 8 2012 @ 12:33 PM
Haha I missed some replies here.

I had a charger in the car. Since we didn't go to the hotel we had our bags in the car (which also provided money for the toll booth (the next day) and gas once we were in Fajardo).

Quick update: we both took hiv tests out of straight paranoia. I'm excited to not have hiv haha

I was actually thinking about making it a short story, there were some details left out and Josh was able to locate a few more pictures, could be fun. Thanks for the kind words!

Originally posted by ChrisF231
You need to contact the US Dept. of Justice. They are currently conducting several investigations into the Puerto Rico Police. Please contact them. It's very important that police corruption in Puerto Rico is dealt with so we can bring the overall crime rate under control down here. Last year we had 1,130 murders - the highest rate per capita in the entire US.

We contacted the FBI who wasn't interested and the ACLU who wasn't even the least bit interested (though I've been a paying supporter for five years). They wouldn't give him a deputy for the court date and suggested he just not return to PR ever again.

Originally posted by newcovenant
reply to post by badfish420

You might have wound up in a foreign jail or like that sailor, brutally killed and the story covered up with your family getting no answers, just a harsh lesson learned.

edit on 7-1-2012 by newcovenant because: (no reason given)

Bingo. We're both happy to be alive and not in PR jail (which I hear sucks)

Holy crap, I just realized I still have the phone I recorded the cops on... There's like five hours of video from my shirt pocket, I'm sure I have some awesome quotes from the first officers we spoke with. I chopped down the story when I got to that part. We actually went to four different precincts before finding the one that claimed the jurisdiction (the others wouldn't so much as take our name and we didn't want to go immediately to the precinct the corrupt cops worked at for fear of our lives). I've got a whole lot of hilarious ugly looks and unhelpful officers. I think the part that would be most interesting to find is when the savior cop tells us to not speak so loud when mentioning the corrupt officer's names. "it's dangerous"
edit on 8-2-2012 by badfish420 because: (no reason given)

edit on 8-2-2012 by badfish420 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 8 2012 @ 04:17 PM
reply to post by badfish420

Go for it! I'd read it again

posted on Feb, 8 2013 @ 02:03 AM
reply to post by badfish420

Dude... with all due respect... YOU AND YOUR FRIEND BOTH----> EXTREMELY FOOLISH.... You do not go into foreign territory: high, drunk AND loaded with cash unless you have someone trustworthy AT the destination watching your back. Consider yourselves SUPER LUCKY... I party in various countries and I maintain a low profile and I dont give the impression of having money... Once I'm situated and I know whats goes on.. then I relax (a little bit) I go to that Frenchys spot a lot (I live in PR) Of course I know those cats... Truth is.. if you act like food-- you get ate. Dont ever fly off like that anywhere you go. Just dont. Stay sober, stay observant, do the research... then take action.

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