I'll Never Go to Baja Again

| posted on July 22, 2010

It was 4 a.m. Friday morning, August 31. Duke, Walt and Roger, three buddies from North San Diego County, were headed down to Mexico keen on surfing the predicted south swell. Their destination: San Carlos, Baja California for a Labor Day holiday weekend filled with surfing, kite surfing and relaxation. This was trip they had done many times before. Duke and Roger especially, having grownup in the Solana Beach/Del Mar area

“The masked man stood there, with the gun pointed at my chest, both hands on the grip. I was now looking up, maybe five feet below his feet.”

Combined, the three men have been traveling into Baja for over 60 years. Duke and Roger speak fluent Spanish–Roger with a slight gringo accent; Duke with the native tongue. They were looking forward to surfing the uncrowded south swell. A pending protest at the border on Friday was sure to slow down the normal throngs of south bound surfers.

They drove in two trucks. A Honda Ridgeline loaded down with three surfboards, four kite boards, six kites, a dirt bike and all the camping gear and food to keep them happy and fed through Tuesday-as they didn’t want to get stuck in the returning border traffic on Labor Day Monday. Roger and Duke were in the Honda. Behind them followed their buddy Walt in a Toyota Tundra loaded down with five surfboards another three kites, two kite boards and more camping gear. Oh, and they had some beer, margarita mix and Hornitos Tequila.

They crossed the border at 4:30 a.m. and preceded toward the toll road, driving along the well-worn road that hugs the border and then climbs the steep hill toward the Tijuana beaches, the bullring and coastal destinations further south. It is the road that everyone who has ever traveled into Northern Baja has been on. And the guys were fired up and optimistic as they followed the road south and descended less than half a mile from the USA/Mexico border. Then the blue lights hit their rear view mirror. Cops.

They were being pulled over. “This stuff comes with the territory,” explained Roger. “Duke and I didn’t feel the least bit apprehensive; pay the cop for whatever bullshit reason he comes up with and move on. Good surf awaited.” The three surfers knew the drill; this area is notorious for the $40 Mexican cop shakedown. Duke, who was driving the Honda Ridgline and leading the two-truck caravan handed all his cash to Roger–except for $40 to pay-off the cop.

“Open the door, ” the cop said to Roger as he rolled down the passenger window. A handgun pointed at Roger’s eyes. “Open the f-ing door,” the cop said a second time as he slammed the gun against Roger’s right temple, reached in and pulled the door open.

As this unfolded, Walt, in the truck behind them and doing his duty as back driver in the caravan, pulled over behind Duke’s Honda Ridgeline and watched in the still, dusky light. ‘It immediately looked strange to me,” explained Walt. “The cops came out of their truck with their guns drawn. My first thought is that they were looking for drugs. I thought this wasn’t going to be a situation where we get out of it with a bribe.”

Within a minute there were two other cops/thugs all over Walt, demanding that he get out of the truck, before simply reaching in and unlocking the door.

In the meantime Roger, the passenger in the front vehicle, was being dragged out of the truck by his shirt at gunpoint. The Mexican carjacker was wearing a cut-off black wetsuit ski mask. “I offered the guy my wallet, ” explained Roger. “At this point I knew this was serious and I offered him everything we had, the car our money, everything.”

While this transpired Duke the driver of the Ridgleine also had a gun to his head and was being lead out of the car.

With a black semi-automatic gun to his head, Roger was led to the roadside guardrail by the masked man and into a dark, open lot with a formidable cliff 30 yards away.

Again Roger tried to reason with carjacker. “Take my money,” he said and handed him the $200 Duke had given him earlier. The car jacker directed Roger further into the darkness. Roger was getting closer to the cliff and deeper into the darkness. Again he tried to fend off the attacker with money. “I reached into my second pocket and threw a wad of cash at him,” explained Roger. “The $240 I had for the trip. It fell to the ground and the attacker looked
down, grabbed a wad full and left the stray twenty dollar bills. He looked down at the remaining bills–$60 or $80 dollars-then looked at me, jerked me forward again. He wasn’t interested.”

Again Roger pleaded with the man to leave him alone. The attacker’s dark brown eyes stared at Roger and then twitched. “I think he was high– on coke or something,” explained the Roger. “His eyes were twitching. The man then continued to lead me further away from the others, into the darkness.”

All sorts of thoughts raced through Roger’s head. “I wondered if I should run. Would he shoot me? I was living in the moment. Instinct drove me, for better or for the worse.”

At the edge of the 100-foot cliff the man stopped Roger and stared him down. Below was darkness–a 100-foot cliff, trash and debris. Roger stood facing the street, his back against the pending overhang.

Meanwhile Walt, in the truck behind Duke and Roger, was dealing with his own nightmare. “One of the Mexicans jumped in next to me pushed his cocked gun into my face pushing my head onto the dashboard,” explained Walt. The cops or carjackers or Federales –nobody is really sure what they were or are–demanded that Walt get out. “The thug on the passenger side grabbed my shirt and put me over the road-side guardrail,” explained Walt. The Mexican forced Walt’s head over the guardrail and cocked the gun against the back of his head. Walt was waiting to die. Walt glanced up and out of the corner of his eye saw Roger down on his knees over by the cliff with a gun pointing on him.

“That’s when I thought, ‘I’m not going to let this guy shoot me here,'” explained Walt. “It wasn’t a heroic action by any means. I just wanted to move out, so I pushed myself up off the guardrail and started walking toward the big ravine that divides the USA from Mexico. That’s really when I thought, this is it, my life was over.” Walt figured the Mexican thug was going to shoot him in the back. After five feet or so, and without hearing from the man holding a gun to his back, Walt started jogging in a zigzag motion toward the cliff, hoping that if the attacker did start firing his gun, perhaps he would miss him. His plan was to jump off the cliff; at least he had half a chance that way.

The Nissan Frontier cuts directly in front of the taxi, slams on its brakes and skids to a stop in front of the Americans in the taxi, blocking it from going forward. “We all started screaming “Go! Go! Go!,” explained Roger. “It was a scene right of the movie ‘Traffic.'”

The masked attacker that held Roger at gunpoint ordered him
to get on his hands and knees and crawl down the cliff. It wasn’t a straight drop, but more of a steep incline. Roger groveled down until he found a ledge. He stood and looked up at the mask.

“It was dark, but I could see. My eyes had adjusted to the darkness. It would be light in about an hour,’ explained Roger. “The masked man stood there, with the gun pointed at my chest, both hands on the grip. I was now looking up, maybe five feet below his feet.”

The mask looked to his left as if awaiting a signal from the other thugs. He again stared down Roger and again turned to his left. This time he took his right hand off the handle and pulled the barrel forward and then back, cocking the gun. He inserted a bullet. The gun was now pointed down directly at Roger’s chest. The man in the mask turned and shot the gun, just above horizon towards the street. He said something, which Roger couldn’t make out and jogged slowly towards the vehicles.

Roger looked over to his left and saw Walt hunched over some twenty yards away. The two saw each other, said nothing. After waiting 30 seconds, maybe a minute, Roger and Walt ascended the cliff. “This cliff is a big cliff, and it’s right on the border and as it got light we could see America on one side and we’re in Mexico,” explained Roger. “We were just sort of freaking out. It was surreal. They could have easily killed us and no one would have known. The two walked up to their friend Duke and the three said nothing. They were in shock. But at least it was over.

Or so they thought.

There was van across the street, an older model van. Beat up. Rickety. Broken down. The kind of vehicle you often see in Mexico. There next to the van was its owner, an old Mexican man. The three surfers yelled out to the old man in Spanish and he acknowledged that he saw the entire ambush. “He said he was scared for us, but that he could do nothing because of his age,” explained Roger. “We ran over to him and the man opened up the sliding door of his van and Duke and I immediately jumped in, but Walt was adamant about not getting in this guys’ van. “The last thing I wanted to do was get in some strangers old van,” explained Walt. “It didn’t feel right.”

Walt eventually acquiesced and reluctantly hopped in the van. The old man closed the van door and the three surfers looked at each other anxiously like, ‘was this a good idea?’ Their sole focus was to get to the border, and this vehicle was going to get them there.

At this point Roger notices that there is a young man in his 20’s sitting in the passenger seat. “The fact that a younger guy was in the passenger seat which sort of freaked us a bit,” explained Walt. “After getting carjacked at gunpoint by Federales we didn’t really trust anyone.”

The old man turned over the engine in his van and it immediately started up. “I thought it was supposed to be broken,” explained Roger. “So I start thinking was this guy involved. It was very weird.”

The old man, the three surfers and the van start rolling down the hill, with the USA on their left and the sun rising brightly. At the bottom of the hill where the street next to the border fence flattens out, and less than a half mile from the carjacking, a Tijuana Police officer had pulled over a truck. A flat bed truck. The kind of flatbed truck that you tow other trucks with.

The three surfers tell the old man to stop his van. “We got out of the van to tell the cop about our carjacking incident,” explained Walt. The cop then did something rather unusual. He picked up his cell phone and made a call. He didn’t use his official police communications radio installed on his police truck. “I didn’t think much about it at the time, but thinking back on it, it seems strange,” explained Roger.

The three American surfers asked the officer to take them immediately to the border to file a report of the incident. “The cop tells us to get in the back of his police truck and we thought we were going to the border,” explains Roger.

But to the surfers dismay the policeman turns onto Avenida Revolucion into the seediest part of Tijuana and pulls over. The surfers demand that he take them straight to the border. The cop refuses. He suggests they get some cash (Duke still had a hidden credit card) from the ATM machine and hire a taxi to take them to the border. By this time the surfers are nervous, restless, and paranoid. They ask the TJ police officer to please file report on the incident but he refuses telling them that the incident happened outside of his jurisdiction.

Fed up with the lack of regard for their situation, the surfers climb out of the cop’s truck and start walking toward the ATM machine so they can get cash for a taxi to the border. They spot another TJ police officer walking the street beat. It’s 5:30am on Avenida Revolucion in Tijuana and all sorts of sketchy people are around. Whores. Street people. Thugs. Drunks. The cop is on patrol to keep some sense of order. She is genuinely kind and concerned for the three Americans, and she directs Duke to the ATM kiosk.

Duke walks into the ATM machine kiosk and immediately two guys follow him into the ATM machine. “I was very nervous about it,” said Walt. “The woman cop ran over to Duke and basically guarded him from these two guys.”

With cab fare in hand and their focus still on the getting to the USA the surfers, with the help of the cop, hail a taxi. The women cop tells the cab driver to bring the Americans to the border and to not stop for anyone. “That part was little odd,” explained Walt. “It was like she knew something was going to happen.”

Walt, Duke and Roger got in the taxi and headed towards the USA, maybe three miles away from the border. “The cab took us on a one way street toward the border. Not unusual, I don’t think,” explained Walt. “Then I hear a loud truck barreling down the street behind us. It’s going like 60, maybe 70 MPH.”

The Nissan Frontier cuts directly in front of the taxi, slams on its brakes and skids to a stop in front of the Americans in the taxi, blocking it from going forward. “We all started screaming “Go! Go! Go!,” explained Roger. “It was scene right of the movie ‘Traffic.'”

Then another vehicle, a VW Tourig, loaded up with four Mexicans, screeches up behind the taxi and boxes it in from behind. The cab couldn’t move. All three surfers are screaming at the cab driver to move out.

Serendipitously, the driver positioned the cab in a manner so that she could escape from the two pursuing vehicles and the taxi bolted full speed to the border.

Carjacked and kidnapped and contracted for death, at this point the three American Surfers were completely spun. The would-be kidnappers pursued, but there were other cars around by this time as the commute across to the USA was filling up traffic.

They paid the taxi driver and bolted a hundred yards or so to the pedestrian crossing. They attempted to tell another Mexican police officer but again, no help. They crossed the border. They called 911. They called their wives. They were safe at last.

In hindsight Duke, Walt and Roger believe the masked carjacker was a police officer. According to the three, that may explain why he wore a mask and the other carjackers did not.

Another interesting note: According to the surfers, the carjackers all spoke fine English, with barely a trace of an Hispanic accent. The carjacking was very professional, and went down with a strategic polish one might see in the military. “These guys were pros, ” explains Walt. “Their guns were drawn and they were on us fast. Even if we had a gun, there is no way we could have acted.”

Mexico has always been a scary place. According to one report, more journalists have died in Mexico than in Iraq. It’s the Wild West. It is not safe. “I’ll never drive into Mexico again. I’ve been surfing in northern Baja for over 20 years and I’ll never go back,” explained Roger. “There is nobody that cares about you. Nobody. You are all alone and the bad guys are the good guys and the good guys…well there aren’t any.”

  • Nate

    Man, that was intense! Glad to hear everyone made it out safe. I was actually just looking into going on a surf trip to Baja, but I think I just got talked out of it.

  • Dirk

    A moment to reflect on what it means to be driving a couple of fancy SUVS through a relatively impoverished counties borderzone at 4:30AM in the morning loaded to the roofline with expensive toys, right down to dirt bikes, plus luxury items, food, beer and lots of cash, and what that looks like to the other guy. For a kid growing up with nothing, perhaps living in a cardboard box along one of the hillsides of Tijuana, who watches those big American cars loaded with luxuries flashing their excessive posessions as the whizz by day after to day, while the kid searches for food along the side of the road. And sooner or later it’s going to occur to him, why not just take one of those rich SUV’s down, and teach em a lesson in economics? And indifference.

    If you want to go to Baja, go with a sense of respect. Not as a party animal on a disneyland tour of self indulgence, ready to shred and rip up the land with dirkbikes and a beer buzz. There is a storyline going on, about survival and humility and humanity that you need to be tune with, and can be a better person for having experinenced it. Otherwize, you just may find yourself getting taught a lesson and being giving a little “tuneup”, Baja Style, by some bandido in ski mask, or maybe by some other form of wake up call, as happens when one dares to enter the frontiers of the ancient world. You were lucky they didnt just shoot you for your sneakers, like they do in L.A.

    • robbie

      Definitely some merit to your comments.

  • Nicole

    I thought the same thing as Dirk driving a fancy SUV in the dark, with tons of surfboards, and other toys is almost an invitation. It is horrible that things like this happen, and they of course they were looking for good surf, not the nightmare that happened. This happened about a year ago from what I can tell, is it still happening? We are headed down to K-38 this week and I hope we have no problems. I think driving only during the day is key, also I don’t think we will drive my BMW SUV we will take my husbands pick up truck. Hoping for good surf and a safe trip!

  • andy starr

    tough luck.. but as the other poster said… time of day and the “way” you look are a big part of drivng through tj and ensenada without getting hasseled. night not safe! can’t you people realize that. i hear of so many fools that drive at night in baja
    i have had friends run off the road at night it is a very bad risk besides being targeted in towns. yup I go to baja i did this year just don’t drive at NIGHT!
    or fly to loreto and rent a car…and bypass the border all together!

  • alex

    we are not all bad in Baja,and the surf is great!!!!!thank you for the story and the lesson of what not to do.I born and raise in Baja know no to drive at night is stupid.
    thank you again less people in our water………(in Vegas they will shoot you for a quarter.)

  • craig

    I’m having trouble understanding this story. I get the gist… I think. You were car jacked? or almost car jacked? But good lord you need to focus on your story telling. For example the very first time you mention any “taxi”, you talk about it like the reader should know about it already. Weird things like this throughout.

  • zanman

    Sounds like you got jacked by a bunch of Americans: perfect english, no accent…

  • Zechariah

    By giving a little “tuneup”, who is this Dirk? You impoverished sob story is no justification for bandits shaking anybody down.

    Your, inferiority complex is what needs a tuneup.

    • Can’t Believe It

      That’s reality down south brother. There is a portion of the Mexican people who are so poor, who have been so ground down by the system there that they have a different way of looking at things. To them, it’s not a crime to take things from rich Americans because the Americans have so much, and they have insurance so they won’t really miss it either way.

  • J. Reckless

    I understood what Dirk was saying, that type of advise would have been good for everyone back in the 60’s, 70’s 80’s and maybe the first part of the 90’s. A couple of problems here – one is that there are pictures over the story and you can’t read it. I am not sure if that is intentional since the push now is to promote Baja, despite the crime. The other problem is that you should not go to Baja – it is not safe. Not only is it because of the drug war, it is because of social implosion. Maneadero, Camalu, Colonet, San Quintin all in trouble – not to mention the north.

    See what happened Dirk, was that all those little kids with nothin grew up an got guns…well maybe some of them went to work in the slave maqs. And we were not paying attention. I suggest keeping in tune with Victor Clarke Alfaro and not the promoters –

    Justice in Mexico is also a good site.

  • Charles

    I would not go to Mexico if you paid me. See, there are places in the U.S. that are dangerous and there are some that are relatively safe. You choose where and how you would like to live. Mexico is no man’s land. If you combine fear, heinous crimes, poverty, lack of education, a corrupt police force, as well as a completely ineffective judicial system, then you will get anarchy.

    • Butch

      Charles you are an idiot, go to New Orleans, Jacksonville Fl., Detroit, and third world country New York city if corrupt. Don’t turn around to fast, turn slowly and you’ll see it’s only your shadow.

  • Jazzy

    What a poorly written article. The Tijuana part isn’t clear at all. What a waste of time. You didn’t do these poor guys any favors by writing this piece of crap.

    • Fred What

      I read, then re-read the article looking for the parts that were “poorly written” can you please copy and paste them too me, this article seemed fine to me, but so many comments are saying its poorly written.

  • Jazzy

    Your writing is horrible, and you don’t do these guys justice with this article. The Tijuana part is a mess. What a waste of time.

  • Alex

    They spoke perfect English because they were ex-american convicts that became cops down there. They do not conduct back ground checks on their cops. So what you get are armed convicts with a badge.

  • Bajasurfer

    this article is the biggest load of shit I’ve ever read. Nice fiction buddy.

  • Surfer John

    Come on guys and gals. All the more reason to stay North of the border and relish the luxurious waves we have just a little North of the border.

  • dlord

    For a ploy to keep surfers off some good waves this lacks cohesion.

  • Tequilacat

    What a bummer, to say the least. One question I must ask. With 60 years of Mexican experience why would you drive in Mexico at night? My experience is well short of your 60 years but there are endless articles on driving in Mexico and the one message that stands out is – don’t drive at night in Mexico. The same could be said for any bad neighborhood in any large city in the USA. For anyone reading the above article please remember that thousands of Americans drive to the Baja every year without a problem.

  • D

    Well I see this college drop out took a creative writing class. THIS IS CLASS A BULL SHIT BY SOME NEEDLE DICK GRINGO. Baja is the shit, fuck this shit.

    • windchime22

      Couldn’t agree more..60 plus years experience,?? My ass,!!!

  • Byron

    I have been visiting this area for decades, and have been very, very fortunate!! Thank you for writing this post!! I will continue visiting Baja, only will learn the following from this nightmare–

    1) Try to be circumspect while traveling, esp. in a third world country.
    2) Do not flaunt your possessions!
    3) Do not travel at night or early morning in Mexico!
    4) Try to fit in with the locals as much as possible–don’t stand out in the crowd.

    Again thank you for sharing your experience with us! we have learned alot from this horrible experience!

  • elo

    G O O D

  • René Devéze Aguirre

    When you came to Baja be with 10 or more people, Feel bad about yourself, but nobody in the goverment cares about this problems; by the way there are good people in Mexico but they are alone

  • Jeff

    This is both funny and a sad attempt to scare Americans away from the beautiful Baja culture and waves. Not much different from people making up shark sitings or whatever else to keep people away from ‘their’ waves.

    Looking forward to my next Baja trip!

  • Tim

    Baja has become a dangerous place. Avoid it. been going for 20 some years. After a lot of close calls and paying out bribe money 3 times more often than before; seeing 2 close friends disapear (1 gone 8 months the other 2 years) I will surf and party elsewhere. When you are sitting there moments before they chop your head off , Crying to mama and sitting in your piss and sh*t , you will not even remember these warnings.

    • Butch

      I live in Ensenada, the southern area, Chapltepec. I walk mostly, night and day never a problem. Driving also, it’s never been a problem.
      I say hello to everyone and know the police. Wish persons paths I cross a good day, afternoon, or even. Having been a pointman in Nam has made me wise to keep my eyes open and things I do not want taken here or in the states I do not flash. The biggest problem I ever had with thugs was in New Orleans, La. and Jacksonville, Fl. The funny thing is in Florida it was rednecks, neither place not one Mexican.
      The biggest assholes in Mexico are north Americans, 90% of the time they won’t a fellow north American a hello even a fellow Marine. Simper fi to all assholes that know who I’m talking to.

  • Jan

    It seems the choices you made traveling at night wasn’t a good one.
    Not quite sure I believe the whole story .

  • Xorxe

    Pretty bad writing, it looks like a High School essay project. What a waste of time.

  • Tio

    Mexico is very poor and getting worse. Your taking a big chance even durring the day. And you cant “blend in”. LMAO… Youstick out like, well, an American surfer in Mexico….

  • Chip

    I”m in and out of baja, south and north, 25 times a year. Have NEVER had a problem, this article is a crock. Would you drive through bad parts of compton, san diego or east hollywood at 4am? …TJ is no different, there are bad eggs everywhere, but no reflection on Baja at all. Stay in the US, safe and sound and enjoy your 300 person lineup at swamis. I’ll keep risking carjacking and death in beautiful baja.

  • jack

    bull shit or no bull shit ive been hitting mex for 40 odd years and fucked up stuff happens in mex more than most places, but i keep coming back and i could tell you a story that makes this look like a cake walk…people that love mex know that there is plenty of good to go with way to much bad, but fuck it..i still love the place and the people and ill keep coming back till it kills me or im too old to deal with it.


  • steven

    Well driving through Tj at 4am with lots of toys in tow can surely get you in trouble once in a while, but hey you got assaulted by federales/crooks with perfect english who actually did not only let you go but followed you afterwards to ambush you again???
    What, did they decide to dump the toys and cash and have some fun staring down some Gringo Grandpas??!!!
    Come on!!!!!!!
    You guys ether smoked the wrong shit and were going at that time through east LA and not TJ or you were smoking the wrong shit while writing this article, or I suspect you just wanna keep the best waves for yourself!
    Well you didn”t get me. Just got a mad swell from Erick here at Punta Perfecta =).

  • AZcanuck

    This has to be one of the poorest written and confusing articles I’ve ever read. Too bad because it was obviously a very compelling story.

    • TheDude

      Yeah, seriously. It’s like the person that wrote it didn’t read it after writing it, and neither did an editor. Really annoying.

    • Cin

      That’s your response, poorly written. Omg

  • John Pack

    I’ve lived in Baja for 10 years now and have traveled all parts of it, thoroughly. Shit happens everywhere, but I think it is far more dangerous north of the border. Southern California is extremely dangerous and I have been ripped off, robbed and vandalized in California, but in 10 years have had not a single problem, my wife or myself. Baja IS NOT DANGEROUS! Not unless you are a dumbass, drug dealer, drug users, have a gun, get drunk and stupid, or don’t know your place and lack respect. If so, stay north of the border where the majority of those type reside. The vast majority of Mexican people are friendly, gracious, and generous. My wife and I have spent 3 months and WALKED from San Felipe to Cabo San Lucas (850 miles in 74 days) and the Mexican people provided us with food, places to sleep, anything we needed…great people.

    • joeboe

      I believe you must be a senile old man or just plain stupid with the comments that you just made. Did you not read the story? Did these surfers from California sound like a group of dumbasses, drug dealers or show any lack of respect? People obviously have different experiences in similar places.

      • Butch

        I live in Mexico, never a problem. I am a writer, and have known many a punk surfer as it seems most are, “dude”. Having lived in Del Mar for many years I know few that have little respect anyone but surfers, “man”.
        The story was poorly written at best, and my guess the writer is a dropped out of english class in about the eigthth grade to catch a “big wave”.
        I have found the north county surfers to be rude and self centered
        brats. Most growing up with a silver spoon and not powder their nose with said spoon, showing it off.

        • DN

          Holy shit you’re the worst “writer” that has ever referred to themselves as a, “writer.”

        • robbie

          You’re a writer? ” The writer is a dropped out of english class in about eigthth grade to catch a ” big wave”.” Come on!
          Said writer never claimed to be one, he’s a surfer Dude!
          You on the other hand………

    • SouthOfTheBorderDisorder

      I’ve been ripped off, robbed, burgled, vandalized, and extorted in California (all by Mexicans, BTW). At least the police in CA will come out and take the report without rolling me again like the corrupt Mexican policia are well known to do.

      Yes, there are some decent people in Mexico. Yes, it helps when you’re dropping $ on them. But you have your head in the sand if you are truly convinced that Mexico is safe.

    • robbie

      Are you calling this guy a liar then? Are you saying he did something to deserve this? What has your experience in So Cal have to do with it? Everytime I see or hear something terrible happen here in Mexico, expats say the same stuff. Chicago, LA. the crime stats. Jeeze, so everything is a comparison? I was mugged in Coronado by Navy boys I figure, but at least the cops that showed up didn’t rob me again. I live here in Mexico and I know the dangers. People disappear, Just like that,gone. It is horrible and it is all around us. Life is cheaper here. You can not even contemplate justice being served and to me that is the difference entirely. With no serious repercussions for the crimes committed it will never stop. Understand the dangers ,then, you are at least aware. Understand that the police down here have no particular loyalty to the nationals or expats. They get paid peanuts to work 12 hour shifts, they are working to feed their families. If they are put in a tight situation, they will protect themselves in anyway possible. After the expat goes home they have to live here. Where do you think their loyalty lies?
      I know there are millions of wonderful Mexican people here and I don’t think that has anything to do with the dangers. One can say that about anyplace on earth.
      For what it’s worth, I would guess it was the time of day these boys were travelling that put them in a more vulnerable position. There but for the grace of god go all of us. Bueno Camino

    • Jose T

      You have to be the biggest idiot on earth how can you say that north of the border is more dangerous !!!!! You are a freeeeeking idiot moron that is full of shit. Mexico is a lawless place where money buys whatever you want. Crooked cops and robbers doing what they please that blatantly doesn’t ‘t exist in the u.s. the wall being built is to keep out the bull shit wen corruption finally topples the Mexican government and shit hits the proverbial fan!!! I assure you you’d wish you were north of the border when that happens. That story is sad and I feel so bad for the surfers that go down to Mexico respect the people environment and help tourism.

    • riverstrat .

      When is the last time you got pulled over here in the US by two car loads of
      thugs impersonating Cops ?
      And then sought help with other cops and civilians and everyone was just hoping
      you die………

  • k38

    We all ride k 38 safe

  • hoedad

    the 4×4 trucks, loaded down with kites and boards and a DIRT BIKE! you were asking for trouble, look poor, well thats not hard for me cuz i am…you were flaunting too much material crap..oh well

  • blastedgringofrom hell

    rule one when in mex. party down with the homies, smoke wicked glass with em, scare them! show them who is every time HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA your a bunch of pussys that got your dues stay away from mex you cant hang !!

  • courtney


  • bunnylebowsk1

    this story sounds fishy. I have been traveling (driving) from oregon to cabo/todos/la ventana for the past 5 winters, a lot of the time solo as a younger female. this year i had 10k worth of boards and bikes on my roof alone. i agree i feel safer here than in parts of california. my guess is someone just wants to keep the spoiled americans out of their favorite break.

  • bajabill

    45 years in Baja 1800 surf trips no problems, this was in the wrong place wrong time. But would agree with some others Southern Ca is more dangerous !!

  • JenK

    Unfortunately, Baja has gotten a bad name recently because of U.S. citizens who make reckless and unwise decisions and have no respect for Mexicans or their culture. Would you go driving around Compton in the middle of the night flaunting your rich-kid toys? The fact is, most major U.S. cities are statistically more dangerous than Mexico. Surfer, you should be ashamed for publishing such a sensationalized and poorly-written article. Duke, Walt and Roger, for the sake of all of us who enjoy the beauty, cuisine, culture and richness that Mexico has to offer, yes, please, never go back to Baja again.

    • robbie

      Jen you’re awful. I don’t see how you can accuse the writer of this story of sensationalizing it. Having a gun pointed at you whilst being robbed is not a walk in the park. Again he’s a surfer not a writer. I do hope you continue to enjoy the beauty, cuisine, whilst expanding you’re compassion for all people.

    • This Is Not My Name

      Fuck you

    • Sean Traba

      This is incorrect: “The fact is, most major U.S. cities are statistically more dangerous than Mexico”. This one Mexican city takes the cake: – but to sort of defend JenK, it is the U.S. demand for drugs that has made Mexico more dangerous in the past 15 years. Finally, I would drive through Compton in any car really a not be as afraid as driving it in Mexico. Been all over both places 🙂 The bottom line is you can go to any police officer in America during a time of need and there is a high chance you’ll not have to worry about getting the help you need. In developing countries, unfortunately that’s rarely the case. It’s actually one of the main reasons why poverty can’t improve. See this great TED talk on it!

    • brett cannon

      Eat my shit and die. A wall will be built at our border keeping you stupid fuckers to eat eachother alive and keep from getting at us

      • Fred What

        i hope you are happy when hillary becomes next POTUS

    • riverstrat .

      How do you sensationalize the threat of execution with a gun to your head and all your buddies experiencing the same in a place you know you can be ‘disappeared’
      in and no one will ever find you and no ‘real’ investigation will ever take place.
      Shame on you for grandstanding with your liberal bs, and attempting to minimize
      the seriousness of being shaken down, threatened with eminent peril, and being
      laughed at and ignored by Law Enforcement, in a land run by thugs and police
      on the take, a land where thugs carry weapons and citizens and visitors are
      treated as scum.

  • jenny

    this is very very true i believe it 100% and u guys calling people stupid saying u got to be for this to happen to you, well u know what ur right u do got to be stupid as fuck to go! damn right i have gone down there cus im stupid! and i went on the taxi 3 times and alsmot got raped and im 17 years old! i was alone trying to find myfriend as we went on our seperate ways. one pulled me as i got out. old disgusting ass motherrfucker about 40 or 50. anyways i also got stopped by a cop cus i was wearing a lil out partying skirt and all of a sudden i was a fucking prostitue.. they took me in and i was crying my eyes out, the pushed me called me every name in the bad book and harrassed me and cussed me out very very very disrespectful. ALSO i have hyperthyroid!!!!!!! its a medical condition and has all fucking tweaker symptoms at the moment my condition was bad since i had forgotten my pills. so they said i was twacked out when i was completely sober. it was very very bad. they practically beat me physically mentally and emotionally very bad! those dumb fucks dont know no damn medical conditions! they dont know wtf hyperthyroid is so i had to spend a whole day in jail and for a muthafucken USA CITIZEN thats not fucking acceptable even if itsone day, at all! thats HORRIBLE as fuck! people out there young girls especially, please be safe as im writing this my body shivers and my heart is beating faster and my breathing changes cus u have no idea how traumatized i am. as im crying my tears out right now to remeber that day. please be safe i am more than happy to live in california! EXTREMELY happy! as soon as i crossed the border, took the trolley i was able to breathe again and feel safe. i understand not all places are like this but damn right mexico well the northern part is 75% full of dirty cops that beat u physically mentally for sure no doubt bout that! AND EVEN IF U DONT HAVE DRUGS! like me cus i didnt have ANYTHING! and i still had to go thru this. i wish i knew how to make tijuana a better place. just cus my brothers living there and it hurts him to know i will never go there again in my life. its too traumatizing. please young girls be careful my prayers go for those girls who have been thru what i have cus i know im not the only one.

    • Butch

      No people that stupid do that I when talking about ones self is capitalized, as well the first word in a sentence. Oh, there are three letters in the word “YOU”. Well l am at it, mother fucker is two words with one “R”, unless you are black which would explain you problem.

      • DN

        You’re one to talk about grammar you fucking idiot

    • CleverUserName

      Not sure I really believe either that a sober 17 year old girl would go out partying alone in Tijuana. Sorry but I might have to side with the Federales on this one. Either way hope that was a huge life lesson for you. Sober or not stay out of Tijuana at night, especially in a short skirt!

  • Andy

    It kinda sounds like you were asking for it and its funny how the say “the Mexican” or “the Mexicans” when they talk about the cops or whatever they were.

  • Tom

    I believe that half of this may be true pure fact, though one thing that is for sure and that is that the U.S. is much safer than Mexico. Unlike Mexico you have police who patrol unfavorable neighborhoods. In Mexico if you want the police’s help you have to bribe them with a considerable amount. In addition, why critisize an article that has a high school level of writing when you can barely right in a middle school level yourselves.

  • Tom


  • frank jizzo

    Sounds like you were asking for it you stupid white fucks?? You keep referring the Mexicans, I’m glad u dumbasses got carjacked u deserved it!! U white asshole?

  • Eduardo Enriquez

    I’m very sorry for that situation, as far as I understand it, I’ve been driving between borders for years and I have never experience something like that, maybe was the moment, but you know, getting a car insurance, it’s a way of making sure you are protected, and in my case, BestMex is one of my companions when I travel, safety comes first.

  • ZP ZAP

    A.) Never cross the border at TJ. B.) Never drive at night, especially in TJ!!!

  • Pablo

    Spelling & grammar criticism is the MO of a keyboard warrior of obvious low self-esteem. The story is basically an interesting blog, dude, not a piece written by Robert Frost.

  • andrew

    I’m just glad you guys miraculously made it out safe … Thank God

  • SouthOfTheBorderDisorder

    These stories are common. I’ve been to various parts of Mexico and I find it to be dirty, seedy, and dangerous….even in the “good” areas. I’ve seen things there that I would never see in even the diciest American ghetto. We saw a woman sitting in an outdoor restaurant seating area not far from us get her throat cut by a couple of guys in black clothes and masks in Acapulco. Another time, my father was robbed by bandits at a road block. Another time, my sister in law was on a train that was stopped and robbed by bandits. In Mexico, you can’t have anything on you that is remotely nice. They will roll you for it. The people there don’t value law and order and human life is exceedingly cheap.

    I will never go back to any place in Latin America. A country where you have to worry about being stopped and shaken down, even by corrupt cops, is a FUCKING SHITHOLE. That’s not my idea of a relaxing vacation. If you want to experience a safe, civilized, ethical Latin country with friendly people that is extremely affordable….try Portugal. It’s amazing.

  • Tom Brenner

    I love that this article is still floating around. I’m still not sure if this was true or total BS, but I’m inclined to call it BS. I’ve travelled Baja for many years, and this story by far takes the cake. If it’s true, then it was just bad luck — wrong place & wrong time. The way the story reads though, it sounds like they being stalked by all of TJ in some kind of organized carjack/kidnap. . . again, hard to believe if you ever done any traveling in Baja. As for driving at night: yeah, TJ isn’t the place to show off your wealth and toys at 4am, but I always prefer to drive at night. No one on the roads, you can see the 18-wheelers way ahead on those crazy mountain roads south of Ensenada, and you don’t waste too much precious daylight. I do have a hard and fast rule though — do not pull over for anyone unless you’re in a well-lit and safe place. If that cop has to follow you for 20 minutes, so be it. If they’re legit, they’ll understand.

    • Robbie

      great advice. Maybe even in daylight. Do not pull over in a remote place with a cliff near by! Just drive to someplace where there are others around. Crooks do not wan to be seen by anyone.

  • DerpDestroyer

    Clearly written by a surfer trying to keep other gringo tourists away from his “secret” break. What a cartoonish article. Mexico is definitely dangerous by the border, but this hysterical nonsense is totally embarrassing.

  • Priyal Kiramage
  • surfing mexico

    everybody is welcome! lets surf mexico!! Baja sur isthe best

  • dumb

    Why were they driving through TJ at night? dumb

  • Zack

    The story was very poorly explained but its typical mexico. I used to go to tijuana alot. But i started hatin it and hatin mexicans altough i am NOT a racist. From d minute u walk into Mexico, everybody sees u as a dollar bill. No one cares about u, they all care only about wut they get outta u, they r very rude and impolite people. U step into tijuana and it starts : can i get a dollar, can i get taco, can i get a peso…….. Then after sayin no to everything, they go can i get a cigarette. If u ask someone for directions, he ll expect to b paid just to show u the way somewhere. They r very rude and very cruel. They come to the USA and take advantage of goverment benefits, then they go back to tijuana and start rippin off people. I cant even recall how many times i was stopped by d police walkin or drivin just to rip u off and to get wutever cash they can get outta ya! They all corrupted, they all pieces of shit… From mexican policia to federales to normal people!,, f….ck all of them. Any person u c in tijuana is after ur money, no one is nice or decent!!! They all look at u as dollar bills! Cops pull u over for absolutely no reason and start to scare u, we gonna tow ur car cuz u have tainted windows!!!so u get scared of loosin ur car and u pay them off instead!!! I ve been goin there for the last 6 years and till today i have not met a single decent mexican person that qas there for u, or that was kind to u…….everybody is after ur cash. Fuck them and their city TIJUANA!!!!

  • Super Dave

    We, as a family, used to drive from the U.S. Border down to Cabo every year. We would camp out for a month, then return. Sometimes by the return route and sometimes by ferry to the mainland. As time passed it progressively got worse, to the point that we had guns pointed at us on more than one occasion. My wife, three little children and myself will never drive there again. We had two good friends murdered in Baja and four in Guadalajara. Will I drive there anymore? Hell no!!! Now we fly only. Trust me, the drug cartel has been quite busy in Baja as our Mexican friends has informed us. I believe every word of this story. I’m sure you scholars will pick my grammar apart too, but that doesn’t change the facts!

  • thedude

    Stopped reading at: “Open the door, ” the cop said. There are maybe 2 cops in all Baja that speak english.

  • Guy inSJ

    Mexican people are NICE but not the Mexican CRIMINALS. They are everywhere, even in California.

  • Jim

    Writer and editor should both be fired. Ha

  • riverstrat .

    To those that call out this being a very poorly written article, you are full of sht, the lack of editing should have been prevented, otherwise the story is put together pretty well.
    The only real stumbling block is the lack of an editor.

  • riverstrat .

    We have a second amendment here in the US; the right to bear arms…..and it also says it shall not be infringed.
    When only Law Enforcement and Military have weapons, eventually gangs and solo thugs will be fully armed and the citizens will not.
    Felons have nothing to lose by breaking the law and obtaining weapons.
    MEXICO has shown this very clearly.

  • riverstrat .

    I appreciate this article very much, having grown up on a surfboard, but stopped surfing
    many years ago, I’m now looking into doing some surfing in MEXICO,
    I googled ‘surfing safe Mexico’ and this is the first article I clicked…. I hope to cross into
    Mexico in a Motorhome, but I can see that it’s a terrible idea unless I can find a group of
    several other rigs that have experience in Mexico and know what if any precautions
    are useful in preventing attacks and extortion from Mexican thugs. Mexico used to be a
    a fantastic place to visit.

  • Facebook User

    Ok here’s the kicker. After reading all these comments. No 1 this story isn’t bullshit. Poor grammar yes. Some people type on their cell phones so excuse the writer for forgetting his type writer. It sounds like these guys were set up by cartel or crooked cops . Now in Mexico this stuff does happen. They probably saw these gringos and decided that they didn’t like them and thought well let’s jack them then kill them plain and simple. Yes people can travel to Mexico and back safely. Yes America can be dangerous also and a similar situation could happen in the USA. But at least if it does happen in anerica you are in YOUR own country not someone elses in familiar surroundings. Even though I do love Mexico and Mexicans and the culture I would not recommend traveling down there by automobile. I have friends that do but they are natives..safest bet is to fly down there to which ever resort and fly home. If you so drive. Leave your car in san Diego along with any valuables in a locker along with cellphone and other items and bring simply your ID , cash and passport. You will be less likely a target and just look like a normal gringo if you take a cab ride down to TJ instead of driving your escalade down there. Yes the cops are corrupt. Yes Mexico is a beautiful place yet poor country. But weather these guys were flossing or not no one deserves to get robbed at gunpoint and almost killed or worst case they rape and torture you to death. I have friends who are Mexican, from there , speak English and Spanish and there are things they wouldn’t do in their own country that over here in the USA wouldn’t be a problem. My friend had his dad’s truck stollen in TJ they had a laptop and cellphones and valuables. They even paid some guys in front of the store in TJ to watch their stuff. They come out of the store not five minutes later. Gone. And this dude is my co worker Alejandro and he’s Mexican so is his dad and speaks perfect Spanish! Makes no difference. If you are a gringo or pocho chance are you could easily become a target in Mexico .