IT HAPPENED TO ME: Bosnian Border Patrol Officers Thought My Husband Was a Drug Trafficker

Everyone on the bus was whispering, surmising that his passport must be fake and I was obviously in on everything.
Publish date:
May 24, 2016
travel, drugs, Border Patrol, Bosnia, Drug Trafficking

It was our second last stop on our five-and-a-half-month tour of Europe and, boy howdy were we excited! We had decided to spend almost a month in a Croatia. We started in Dubrovnik and mosied on up to Split via bus, which is the best way, by the way, as it's all along the coast. On the way, there is an ass crack's worth of space on the coast that Bosnia owns.

Getting into Bosnia? EASY. Leaving Bosnia? NOPE.

We stopped at the border, and two officers came onto the bus to check passports. No big deal. One officer stood at the front of the bus so no one could run off while the other one did his thing.

He looked at my passport and moved onto husband (then boyfriend), Graeme. He looked at Graeme's passport, then back at Graeme, back at the passport, keeps the passport with him, and moves on.

"Um... I'm going to need that back...?" Graeme said.

The officer replied in Bosnian, which we don't speak, and walked away."OK..."

"Maybe he has to... look at it more?" I suggested.

We both shrugged.

The officer finished looking at everyone's passports, came back to Graeme and said, "Get up. Come with me." Graeme got up while looking at me like he's about to get shot in the face. I started to get up, too, and the officer said, "No, you sit."

There were about 30 other people on the bus. Everyone started to whisper like we were obviously drug lords or terrorists or something we definitely aren't. I was about to shit all over myself, having no idea what was going on. It felt like this was taking hours even though only half an hour went by.

My thoughts were racing: OK, Graeme is going to go to jail. Who knows what for? But it will be a Bosnian jail. That will probably suck. At least the weather is nice. We're going to be on that show. What's that show? Locked Up Abroad. Oh god, Graeme's going to shoot heroin while locked up for five years, I just know it. I wish we had a cellphone. How am I supposed to call our parents for bail money? I'm sure they have phones. Does Bosnia have phones? That's stupid — of course they have phones. Remember in Thailand how everyone had flip phones? If Thailand has phones, Bosnia has phones. Stupid Bosnia. Stupid 10 minutes of Bosnia.

And so on and so forth.

Finally, Graeme emerged from the building he'd been taken to. He and the officers went around the bus to get his backpack, and then they went back inside the building. Now the people on the bus were whispering more. I overheard them surmising that his passport must be fake and I was obviously in on everything. It's pretty interesting how people will just jump to their own conclusions and instantly lay blame on people they don't know.

I got sick of everyone looking at me, so I got up to get off the bus. At the front, the second officer was standing outside the bus, AK-47 in hands, and he yelled at me in Bosnian.

I don't know what you're saying, but that gun is telling me I should probably not step any closer to you.

"You should sit back down," the bus driver said in English."My fucking boyfriend is probably being questioned for shit he didn't do, and I'm sick of sitting here," I replied.

"You should sit back down.""You make a good point," and I sat back down.

About 10 minutes later and after I'd almost reached the point of a full-blown panic attack, Graeme appeared. He put his bag back under the bus, got on, and the bus driver muttered, "Fuckin' cops."

"What happened?!" I said as Graeme sat back down next to me.

"Oh yeah," he said, "they thought I was trafficking drugs."

"I mean, naturally."

Since most of this actually happened to Graeme, here's what he told me went down with the officers.

Graeme walked into the building and was told to sit down at the table. An English-speaking officer stood on the other side.

Officer: Tell me what you have in your bag.

Graeme: Um, clothing, souvenirs...

Officer: Any drugs?

Graeme: Tylenol, my girlfriend's birth control, Cipro.

Officer: What is Cipro?

Graeme: Pills to stop me from pooping myself.

Officer: You need to come clean on everything you have in your bag.

Graeme (all sassy): I just did.

The officer kept asking Graeme a thousand questions, patted him down, investigated his shoes, etc. The officer went off to examine his passport thoroughly, came back, and took Graeme outside to get his backpack.

Once they were back inside...

Officer: This is your last chance to come clean before I go through this. Life will be a lot simpler if you tell me what you have in here before I find it.

Graeme: There's. Nothing. To. Find. Go ahead.

Here's the thing about our souvenirs: we wrapped them up in clothes and scarves so they wouldn't break. We bought a small, square clock in Slovenia that was wrapped up in my scarf. So when the officer pulled it out, it literally looked like a block of cocaine or something.

Officer: WHAT IS THIS?

Graeme: A clock from Slovenia.

Officer: A clock.

Graeme: Yep, a clock.

Officer (unraveling it with precision): It's... a clock.

Graeme: It's a clock.

They ripped Graeme's entire backpack apart to find zero drugs.

Even though this could have had a way worse outcome, I'd still love to go to go back to Bosnia for more than a half-hour in a bus. I'm sure it's a fabulous country and the people are great.

Graeme has actually never done drugs, so for him to be questioned for drug trafficking in a foreign country was pretty freaking hilarious in retrospect.

But at the time, we were just pretty stoked the officer didn't decide to plant anything on him. I'VE SEEN BROKEDOWN PALACE.