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Military CheckpointsCheckpoints in Baja California and Mexico

Military and law enforcement checkpoints aimed at detecting narcotics, alien smuggling, and firearms traffic are located at various places throughout Mexico. When driving in Mexico you may encounter a Military Checkpoint. The Checkpoints in Mexico are roadblocks with shaded canopies, tents, a observation station and banks of sandbags. If you are asked to pull over the first thing to remember is to remain calm. These are the Federalistas whose job is to prevent the dissemination of drugs, arms and ammunition. Your vehicle is required to stop at this checkpoint and you will be questioned. They'll want to know where you are from and where you are going. You may be asked to open the trunk, glovebox, suitcases, etc. The search is usually takes less than a minute then you are on your way.

Police and Federales in Mexico

The Mexican Federal Police (Policia Federal or "Federales") patrol the roads. Unfortunately, the culture of "mordida" still prevails, and as often as not the Federales may be willing to let you off with a warning in exchange for some folding money. However, do not by any means assume that the officer is expecting a bribe - some are well aware that it is illegal, and they will be offended or may even arrest you for offering! As in most places, courtesy and respect are most important. Knowing Spanish is also very useful in these situations, since the police are not expected to know English.


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