What You Need to Know About Military Checkpoints in Mexico
When you travel across the U.S. border into Mexico, border patrol and checkpoints should be expected. The purpose of military checkpoints in places like Baja, Mexico are there for one purpose only – to catch those involved in illegal activities, like drug trafficking and gun smuggling. Typically, checkpoints are located at the borders of countries, but in Mexico, they are also within the country. This means that while driving around in Baja, you could come across military checkpoint signs along the way.
How Many Military Checkpoints Are in Mexico?
The amount of military checkpoints in Mexico varies depending on the time of year. Usually, there are around six checkpoints located between Cabo San Lucas and Tijuana. As you approach a military checkpoint, you will see personnel wearing military uniforms. It’s common for them to also be armed with automatic rifles.
Are Vehicles Always Inspected at Military Checkpoints in Mexico?
It’s uncommon for each and every vehicle to be inspected at military checkpoints. On most occasions, you will just be waved through. In the event that you are stopped by personnel, there’s no need to panic. If you are asked to stop, roll down your window, so that the officer can see inside of your vehicle and speak with you. Just stay relaxed, courteous and be friendly. Anything suspicious could flag you for an inspection.
The soldiers you’ll find at these checkpoints are trained to be firm, but courteous. Typically, there isn’t much conversation – after all, they have thousands of cars to screen, so not much time for that. The first thing you may be asked is whether you speak Spanish, “Habla Espanol?” If you say no, you can expect a lot of the officers to speak in broken English. Other questions they may ask in Spanish include, “Adonde va?” which means where are you going, and “De donde viene?” which means where are you coming from.
What to Expect When Your Vehicle is Flagged for Inspection
If for any reason you are flagged for a vehicle inspection, you and your passengers will be asked to get out of your car. If you are traveling with a pet, it too has to come out of the car. The inspection will be performed quickly to help keep traffic moving along. So make the process as seamless as possible by following directions and eliminating problems that could slow down the inspection process. You’ll be asked to open your trunk or the door to the backseat. The glove compartment, travel bags and beneath the seats will all be checked for illegal contents, such as paraphernalia, shells and guns.
Going through a military checkpoint can seem a bit scary, but as long as you are following the country’s laws and the directions they give you, there’s nothing to worry about. Remember that they are here to stop criminals, not innocent civilians. Their job is a difficult one and they are risking their lives daily to keep law and order. Now that you know what to expect at military checkpoints in Mexico, hopefully, your road travels in Mexico will be stress-free.