So I woke up today and my husband turned on the TV while we were having breakfast, and as we watched the National Geographic Channel we realized that the show (I think it’s called “Banged Up Abroad”, although it is translated into Portuguese as something similar to “Vacations in prison”) that was on was telling the story of a few American guys who had gone to Brazil with drugs on their bodies and then got caught by the Brazilian Federal Police at the Cumbica (São Paulo) Airport (I think the episode was called “São Paulo Death Trap”).
I found this summary in NatGeo’s website:
In 1993 Brendan Cosso was partying and mixing with celebrities in Hollywood. He didn’t need the money. But when the offer came to smuggle cocaine out of Brazil for $50,000, he took it. He was arrested with three friends at Sao Paulo airport. Thanks to the efforts of his father in securing a top criminal lawyer, Brendan received a sentence of four years rather than the 25 demanded by the prosecution. But he was sent to Carandiru prison, the most violent prison in South America, where a year previously 111 prisoners had been massacred.
The show was actually quite interesting. It portrayed a little bit of what Brazilian prisons look like (although the one specifically mentioned in the program has been extingished in 1997).
Only one out of the three/four guys involved in the story was telling his version of it to the show, and he actually seemed to be a nice guy. He seemed really regretful about having said “OK” to whomever offered him the job of taking drugs to Brazil. He would cry every now and then, especially when he would talk about his dad.
But it’s interesting how the talk about Brazil, and how they seem actually expect that here you can pay a bribe to a guard, a lawyer or a judge and simply get everything settled.
I’m not saying it’s not like that, but… Still, deep inside it hurt a little bit to hear the guy say that his dad came down to Brazil with a suitcase full of money with that exact purpose — paying off Brazilian authorities so that they would release his drug dealer son.