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#1

RabidStoat

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Posted Apr 14, 2008 @ 12:58 AM

Has anyone else caught any episodes of Locked Up Abroad on National Geographic?

They do stories of people who have, well, gotten locked up abroad. It's almost always people who have done illegal things, and admit to it, though one guy got kidnapped by Colombian rebels I think. But usually it's one or more people who are smuggling drugs, large amounts of cash, gold, or something similarly illegal, into or out of a foreign country.

It's really great for schadenfreude. It's in a documentary style, the people involved doing voiceovers while there are re-enactments or actual footage in some cases being shown. There is a lot of "what was I thinking???" as people end up in a foreign for jail for months or years. Yikes!

My favorite so far is the two guys who were caught smuggling drugs out of Venezuela. Just watching the re-enactment as they went through customs, and got caught, and how the 'definitely paid off you can trust us' police weren't really paid off. The prisons there sounded absolutely horrid, and what little footage was available was harsh. They ended up getting out early, on parole, then breaking parole and making it back home.

The others I've seen were some people who strapped tons (not literally) of gold onto their bodies in special vests, and got caught trying to smuggling it into Nepal. Then the Colombian rebel-kidnapped guy. There was another drug-smuggling one I saw, and I'm watching one where some people were caught smuggling a quarter of a million dollars out of Sydney, or something like that.

I must admit, watching the "man, we were so stupid!" exploits of people never fails to amuse me. Anyone else?

#2

LogCabinPat

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Posted Apr 14, 2008 @ 10:21 AM

I must admit, watching the "man, we were so stupid!" exploits of people never fails to amuse me. Anyone else?

Yeah, me too. But like you, I view with a jaundiced eye because regardless of the circumstances or assurances that the customs people would be paid off, etc., all of these people were adults who knew they were doing something illegal.

#3

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Posted Apr 15, 2008 @ 8:59 AM

I watched one of the shows last night (about the British couple who tried to smuggle drugs back from Costa Rica and were caught in Mexico). I was surprised to find at the end that they are still in the Mexican prison. I saw this show once before and I think it was about the guys in Venezuela that RabidStoat mentioned, because they were out at the end and I assumed everyone portrayed on this show would be telling their story once they were out. It seemed like the British couple were doing the best they could in the situation. Still, it was kind of depressing.

#4

BluPhoenix451

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Posted Apr 20, 2008 @ 10:31 AM

I think the show is really interesting but it's definently hard to feel bad for these people since they know what they are doing is illegal.

#5

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Posted Apr 22, 2008 @ 11:52 AM

Yes, while all of them knew they were committing a crime, you would have to have a pretty cold heart to not feel sympathy for the prices they paid. And the toll it took on their families, like the British girl in Thailand. I read a very good book on her story, Forget You Had a Daughter: Doing Time in the 'Bangkok Hilton': Sandra Gregory's Story. Not to make excuses for her but seeing her poor health and delicate frame of mind, combined with naivete, I can cut her some slack. Nat Geo. did a great job on this re-enactment. I think I would rather kill myself than endure some of these prisons. She certainly paid the price for her crime. Love this show, by the way.

#6

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Posted Apr 23, 2008 @ 9:19 PM

Well, I did like that the people interviewed didn't try to plead ignorance (too much) or claim they were set up. They all have seemed to admit that they made dumb choices, and should have known better. Mostly. I think someone have tried to pass it off as "gee, we didn't know quite what we were getting into" but none of them were claiming they had stuff smuggled into theirs bags or anything.

I've only caught a few so far, still. I'd like to see one on Thailand or Cambodia or Vietnam, or on the US. I'm pretty sure there's been an episode on one or both of those that I just haven't caught yet.

#7

juststoppinby

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Posted Apr 24, 2008 @ 12:15 AM

Didn't any of these people ever hear of "Midnight Train"? I did, never even saw the movie, and it scared the heck out of me

#8

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Posted Jul 11, 2008 @ 10:53 AM

I saw the one with the 2 California girls who agreed to do drug running in Peru in exchange for a free trip to Peru and a one-week vacation. God, the whole time I just sat there shaking my head at their stupidity. I agree that it's really hard to feel any sympathy for them. Idiots!

#9

emilymay1

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Posted Jul 11, 2008 @ 9:16 PM

I just saw the Uganda episode about a group of eco-tourists who were captured by rebels in Uganda. It was heartbreaking to watch such violence without purpose. I really love this show and have seen all the other episodes, but this one was tough to watch.

#10

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Posted Jul 11, 2008 @ 10:54 PM

The Two British guys who were serving a 10-year prison sentence in Venezuela pissed me off so much. I don't know if the show expected me to root for them or expect them to be okay with the fact that they became fugitives for violating their terms of their reduced sentence. The sense of entitlement those two had were disgusting, like they were somehow above the law. Granted, I'm not disputing the fact that Venezuelan authorites can be corrupt as hell, but for the amount of cocaine they had on their person, they got a light sentence.

#11

Mindymoo

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Posted Jul 17, 2008 @ 1:56 AM

The Ugandan one was very difficult to watch. It wasn't the normal smuggling story, but rather was the "wrong place at the wrong time" thing. And that the area where they were camping out at was considered one of the safest spots in Africa, according to the US, made me nauseated. It's like, I have all of these plans of traveling the world, including countries in Africa and Asia, and stories like this scare the shit out of me.

Did anyone else see the episode where- I believe- two guys were smuggling drugs, and chose to do it in the US, certain European countries and places in Australia because they didn't want to end up in some third world country's prison? Planning ahead, indeed. And the thing that boggles my mind every time is how so many of these people think it would never, ever happen to them. They are so stupid and selfish, wanting to live easy on money they didn't work for.

A good documentary on this sort of topic, if anyone is interested, is "Pack, Strap, Swallow." They were all women in the same prison, five of them, who either packed drugs into their luggage, strapped them onto their bodies, or swallowed them. I remember a girl from the US, one from Germany, and one from Poland who was very sweet, and looked like a pixie. Unlike most of the people on "Locked Up Abroad", I felt sorry for some of these women. Each and every girl they talked to smuggled for one reason: a man. The Polish girl and the German girl both did it for the same man. It was truly a heartbreaking doc.

#12

greybear

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Posted Jul 19, 2008 @ 1:02 AM

Midnight Express was pretty raw and depressing, but not as bad as real life. It ought to be required viewing when people apply for a passport.

#13

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Posted Jul 20, 2008 @ 5:42 PM

Ooh, I like this show a lot, although I wish they would spend a little more time on the people's experiences in foreign prisons (some episodes do so more than others). Most of the subjects I don't feel sorry for at all--the Americans/Western Europeans who smuggle drugs in Asian/African countries display nauseating hubris just thinking they can get away with it. There was one episode where the girl went back to the prison after she was released to take a tour and some of the same "local" prisoners were still there--I can't even imagine the resentment they must feel.

I think there was one guy, a Greek(?) sailor who was hired to teach two guys how to sail and didn't find out until they were at sea that the guys who hired him were carrying drugs. He really got screwed. And both of the hostage episodes I've seen (Columbia and Uganda) have blown my mind.

#14

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Posted Jul 20, 2008 @ 9:12 PM

Pink Scare,

That sailor's story broke my heart. He said the whole thing seemed a bit odd from the get-go, but I believed him that he didn't know what the whole deal was about. And it was especially awful how by the time he knew what was really up, it was too late for him to get out of it. His despair over the relationship with his daughter made me cry.

#15

georgia76

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Posted Jul 22, 2008 @ 10:57 AM

I wish more people were watching, or at least commenting on, this show. I find it incredibly absorbing, and I can usually find some sympathy for the characters, even when they are making incredibly stupid decisions.

I saw two last night that brought up very different emotions in me. One was about missionaries travelling through the Phillipines. Twenty-four people were taken hostage including an American couple. After 13 months only the two Americans remained alive (the hostage-takers wanted money from the U.S. to start their own Muslim state) and let's just say it didn't end well. it actually made me cry a bit.

The other story was an 18 year old American smuggling heroin out of Bangladesh. She seemed shocked that they would actually prosecute her for breaking the law. She provided some information about the man who gave her the drugs and fully expected they would send her home then. She tried to smuggled 7 lbs of heroin out of the country! Her prison experience seemed much more pleasant than the guys in Venezuela, that's for sure.

#16

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Posted Jul 23, 2008 @ 2:12 AM

I only saw the missionary one for this week yet. I find myself often annoyed with missionaries, especially when they go to foreign countries, where they are neither allowed nor wanted, and expect our government's help when they are arrested for doing what is illegal in that country. Those girls arrested in Afghanistan around 9/11 who, after being released, vowed to go back and proselytize again in Afghanistan made me so disgusted and angry. Reading the description on the DVR, that is what I assumed this episode would be about. But as soon as I saw the woman, I remembered the story.

I followed it while it was happening, and I felt so sick for that couple and their children. They were missionaries, but that was their vacation, and they were doing nothing wrong. I don't know what I would do or how I would survive in that situation. She had children to survive for, but even if I had children, if my hypothetical partner died, that would possibly be it for me. If that person was my rock, how could I make it? Why would I want to? And this is coming from one of the most independent, solitary people out there. But after everything is stripped away from you like that, what is the point? A very strong woman, she was. And the actress who played her in the reenactment looked familiar.

Tomorrow I will see heroin girl. That will be interesting.

Edited by Mindymoo, Jul 23, 2008 @ 2:24 AM.


#17

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Posted Jul 23, 2008 @ 2:03 PM

Mindymoo I felt sick watching this one too. Locked Up A is my new favorite show, but it's too sad and horrible when it's about innocent people who were held hostage. I only like it when it's about dumb drug smugglers who got caught up in greed and fast living.

Points for British accents!

"I tho't I'd never see muh mum again!

#18

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Posted Aug 2, 2008 @ 2:57 PM

I caught the one with Lia, the young woman who was trying to smuggle heroin out of Bangladesh. This episode was really well done, especially the recreation of the last moments of her trip when she changed her mind and was trying to get out of the hotel. My heart was literally pounding during that whole sequence. It's certainly been the closest I've come to sympathy with one of the people featured who did it of their own accord. She had so many "almost made it out" moments, that I did feel sorry for her somewhat. Because I missed the first 10 minutes of the episode about how she got into the situation, I did a little Googling and found some more information and details about her and her ordeal. Here's a link in case you're interested (note that the article focuses on her faith and how it got her through, in case anyone doesn't want to read about that aspect): Article in Christianity Today on Lia

#19

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Posted Aug 2, 2008 @ 9:55 PM

I actually didn't feel much sympathy for Lia. She tried to play ignorant and naive, but I didn't believe it for a second. She goes in to a meeting with some guy who is going to pay her big money to smuggle something, but she has no clue it was drugs? And even if she did believe that it was just just diamonds, what makes that any better? She was already in Bangladesh for quite some time, and she thinks she can just go home without holding up her end of the bargain? She gets caught with a shitload of heroin duct taped to her body, and she thinks that they will let her catch her plane and fly home? She identifies the guy who gave her the drugs, and she thinks that she will get off, scot free? That they will just let her out of jail, no charges, her role in this deal is over? No one who gets involves in that trade is that stupid. It made a better story for her to sound all innocent and naive, but I don't trust in that version at all.

And then she works at NASA, which requires a security clearance, after being released from prison and arriving back home! Lia was lucky, because someone who would have a similar conviction in the USA would rarely be awarded that kind of opportunity. She should be kissing Bill Richardsons's feet, and walking in front of him and throwing rose petals. She wrote a version of the story to make herself sound pitiful and pathetic, but eventually strong, stuck to it, and is now supposed to be some kind of victim and hero? Sorry, but I don't buy it for a second. And because of her whole "who, me?" schtick, I find her even less sympathetic. The only smuggler I felt true sympathy for was the sailor, who didn't know what he was involved in until it was too late. But Lia is up there with the stupid girls who tried to smuggle drugs out of Peru, or the jerks who broke their parole and flew home.

I don't really know why I feel so strongly about some of these people. I have no problem with certain drugs, as long as people use them in a responsible way, and use them in moderation. Perhaps I just get annoyed with the arrogance of these people, and how absolutely shocked they are that they, of all people, would be caught and arrested for smuggling. And if they are willing to stupidly risk their lives and well-being for a few thousand dollars- which, in the long and short of it is nothing at all- just so they can not have to work, or get to travel around and go on a long holiday, then I can't feel too bad for them. It is laziness and greed that got them into this, and nothing else. I have yet to hear a story about someone's loved one being sick and they need money to pay for their medication or treatments, or any other excuse that, while misguided, you could sympathize with.

On a different note, I want one of those prisoner saris, but I can't explain why.

Edited because of grammar.

Edited by Mindymoo, Aug 3, 2008 @ 5:32 AM.


#20

Rubinia

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Posted Aug 5, 2008 @ 9:00 AM

Mindymoo I felt sick watching this one too. Locked Up A is my new favorite show, but it's too sad and horrible when it's about innocent people who were held hostage. I only like it when it's about dumb drug smugglers who got caught up in greed and fast living.

Points for British accents!


Oh, man, I totally agree. I recently got into this show because I enjoy watching the drug smugglers lose it at the airport when they inevitably get caught and can't believe they are actually going to jail. However, I saw the Philippines episode yesterday and I found it really sad and scary. I have the Chechnya episode on my DVR and I'm afraid that will be similar...

Speaking of British accents, did anyone see the ep about the British guy who had to smuggle this huge amount of heroin and when he couldn't strap all of it to his body, decided to start swallowing condom-fuls of it? It turned out that he was lucky to have been caught because due to a previous intestinal surgery that he'd had, there was no way the condoms of heroin would ever pass through his system and he would have died. Crazy!

Also, I think this show has pretty good quality reenactments.

#21

KarimAmir

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Posted Aug 6, 2008 @ 4:06 PM

I've seen all the episodes of this show, which has quickly become one of my favorites.

Rubinia, I agree with you about the reenactments.

The Chechnya episode was hard to watch in some spots, similar to ones in the Philippines and Uganda.

Admittedly, I have little sympathy for some of these people--the two girls imprisoned in Peru may have been the worst offenders. However, that does not mean I don't find their stories compelling.

#22

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Posted Sep 30, 2008 @ 1:22 AM

After watching this latest episode with the dope smuggling blow from Lima (Peru, not Ohio), I have three main thoughts:

1. How could you have been so stupid to not only have fallen for this girl, but to have bought such ridiculous scenarios day after day, and still have feelings for her and wonder if she played you, or if she really did love you?

2. The woman he fell for and married in prison was probably playing him too, looking for an unattached Westerner with a relatively short sentence to take her back to his home when he was released.

3. How do I get a job like that? (I kid, I kid.)

This guy was pretty dumb and gullible, but I could stand him much more than the "Who, me?" heroin bitch from India. (But I have a plane to catch! my visa expires tonight! You can have the heroin, but I need to be on this plane! This is the guy who taped the heroin on me, so will you let me go now? Prison? ME???!!!!!???????)

#23

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Posted Sep 30, 2008 @ 9:09 AM

This is one of my new TV Obligations. Last night, I stayed up wayyyy too late to watch the Peru episode. Riveted to the screen!
ITA Mindymoo. Unfortunately, he was taken for a ride by this gal, and years later, despite serving some hard time in prison, having gotten married and had a family, he's still got her on the brain. I sorta felt bad for his wife when she see's this show. STILL thinking about HER? Geez!
Anyways, I ended up having nightmares all night....Thanks LUA!
Will continue watching because these people and their crazy decisions baffle me.

#24

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Posted Oct 13, 2008 @ 1:41 PM

I am not sure how he was set up by the girl. It seems to me that the dealers lost 6 kilos of cocane and he spent time in jail so I don't see how the dealers came out ahead.

The only possibilities I see are:
1) she carried nothing and he ended up being caught .DD still not out ahead.
2) the DD and/or she made a deal (before going or while trying to go) with the police to let her go with whatever amount she had in exchange for him getting caught. But then why 6 kilos? Would 1 to 3 be enough?

#25

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Posted Oct 13, 2008 @ 2:38 PM

Code Monkey, the way I understood the setup was that, in the worst case scenario, she recruited him in advance for the DD, with no intention of ever carrying anything herself. That was the setup. The whole seduction, her pressuring him, everything, was just to get him there and to carry the drugs. I don't remember hearing anything that led me to think that she got caught and made a deal. I don't think she ever carried anything. The fact that he got caught was just his bad luck, and the roll of the dice - the DDs know that some get through, some get caught. It's just spoilage. A slightly less sinister version would be that during the trip she made a deal with the DD in exchange for going with him alone and sex so that she wouldn't have to carry any drugs herself.

But yeah, I agree, I can't believe he was still doubting whether she really set him up or what. I can see him still thinking about her given what a negative impact she had on his life, but hopefully those thoughts are limited to him hoping she sat in squallid prison for as long as he did. Somehow, I doubt it though...that guy had "I'm a rube and a sucker for any con artist with a pretty face" written all over him. I agree that it's weird that he married someone he met in prison that was visiting another inmate. Sigh. Hope she hasn't taken his money and run yet. I give it another six months.

Edited by EmbiggenedSoul, Oct 13, 2008 @ 2:40 PM.


#26

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Posted Oct 27, 2008 @ 9:11 PM

Man, was this guy a tool, or what? He was all "how dare they try and inconvenience ME and fib to ME while I am smuggling cocaine?" Also, I found his story kind of suspect in some spots. I got a bit of a James Frey vibe from him. Was I alone in feeling this way?

#27

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Posted Apr 1, 2009 @ 11:59 PM

Is this the proper thread for new episodes on Nat Geo? The first aired tonight and I found it to be a devastating story. Wanted to see if others felt the same?

#28

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Posted Apr 2, 2009 @ 6:29 AM

I saw the commercials and didn't think that the last five minutes would be that shocking. But my gosh. What a horrible thing to go through for Simon. And the woman who got him into that trouble -- at least she claimed responsibility for herself and didn't claim he was smuggling as well. And the difference in the prisons was tremendous (women's vs. the men's prison); I couldn't quite see how Simon would get through his years in the men's prison.

#29

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Posted Apr 2, 2009 @ 2:09 PM

What happened in the last 5 minutes? I'm dying to know. I missed it.

Since the show aired it's not a spoiler anymore!

#30

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Posted Apr 2, 2009 @ 4:50 PM

EmbiggenedSoul, Simon was released after his friend signed a statement saying that he was innocent. However, he had to stay in Peru until the case was resolved. Apparently, his friend was sentenced to 7 years in prison, and Simon was supposed to be free to return home, but the prosecution filed an appeal and he is in limbo again. The captions at the end of the show said he is still in Peru and could face prison.

I agree -- this was a devastating episode! I could barely watch, I felt so horrible for poor Simon. Really, really disturbing.