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Drug Arrests

About 1,000 Americans are arrested abroad on drug charges each year. Many countries strictly enforce their drug laws and impose very severe penalties for drug violations. When people travel abroad, they are subject to the laws of the countries in which they travel, not to U. S. laws. Criminal procedure in other countries can be very different from U. S. criminal procedure, especially in cases of drug-related offenses. If travelers are arrested, they will find the following is the case:

  • Jury trials are often not allowed.
  • Trials can be very long, with many delays and unaccountable postponements.
  • Most countries do not have a system for accepting bail.
  • Pre-trial detention, which is often carried out in solitary confinement, may last for many months.

If U. S. citizens are convicted on a drug charge, they face the possibility of the following:

  • 2-10 years in jail,
  • In some countries, there is a minimum of 6 years hard labor and a steep fine, and, in a number of countries,
  • The death penalty (e.g. Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia).

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