An American citizen is currently spending some time in a Mexican prison after being arrested at Cancun International Airport for having bullets in his luggage. According to reports, the man and his wife had no trouble getting through TSA in the U.S. airports they went through, so they were unaware of the bullets in one of the pieces of luggage that they were carrying. The luggage had been a bag that the man kept in his car, and he had allegedly forgotten about the ammunition that he kept in the bag.
In the United States, it is legal to travel with ammunition in your luggage, but it is not in Mexico. Because the TSA agents had no reason to acknowledge the bullets, the couple made it all the way to Cancun without realizing they were there. Upon arrival, the couple proceeded to collect their luggage from baggage claim, at which time they were approached by officials that wanted to inspect their luggage.
The couple, Josie and Pat Bollig, are from Wichita, Kansas, and were going to Cancun for a vacation. When they packed for their vacation, they included a small backpack that the husband, Pat Bollig, typically kept in his truck with emergency supplies in it. According to the wife, Josie Bollig, her husband had simply forgotten about the bullets being in there.
Prior to arriving in Cancun, the Bolligs departed from Kansas City Airport and had a stopover in Dallas. At neither of those airports did TSA agents or other officials mention that they had the bullets in the backpack that was in their soon-to-be-checked luggage. The wife stated that she feels “like the airlines should make more people aware that they have these items in there and what the laws actually are in other countries.”
According to the wife, they went to collect their checked luggage from the Cancun Airport baggage claim area. It was at this time that officers walked up to them and asked if they could check inside the luggage, at which time the couple told them to go ahead. Obviously, according to the couple, they did not think they had anything to hide.
According to Josie Bollig’s report of the situation, the officers knew exactly where to look. She stated that “They opened up and went straight to that little backpack. They went to a zipper pouch and they pulled out two cartridges of bullets that were in there.” Following the discovery, her husband was arrested and taken to a Cancun prison, where he will have to stay until at least October 14th.
Gun laws are extremely strict throughout Mexico, including in Cancun. While some citizens in Mexico do have the right to own a gun, it is required that they keep them in the home to use for protection only. This is because both open and concealed carry is forbidden for the average citizen unless authorization is explicitly given by the Secretariat of National Defense.
Josie Bollig is staying in Cancun for the remainder of the time that her husband is imprisoned, and both have said they look forward to being back home to the U.S. If all fines related to the charges are paid by the 14th of October, Pat Bollig will be released from prison at that time. A situation like this reminds us of how careful we need to be when traveling to foreign countries and how important it is to know the laws of the countries we visit.
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