Entre Rios Sucks

After a night camping at a familiar spot by the river in Yapeyu, we continued south towards B.A.

Not long ago, I had a map passed on from another traveler and they had written ‘BAD POLICE’ and circled this section of road in Entre Rios.  I didn’t know if they meant corrupcion or if they were just bad at being police.  It turns out… both.

We first entered Argentina about a year ago (!) and have driven all over the country – from north to south and back again… and have never seen anything quite as ridiculous as this.  Police checkpoints are common in most South American countries, and we’re accustomed to the routine. In the rest of Argentina, the police are professional. Here… it’s something else.

I won’t rant and rave too much, but a few things are worth mentioning.   We were pulled over at least 10 times in one day – maybe more.  We were asked for all sorts of things we’ve never been asked for. Fire extinguishers -not required, but they insisted they were (we have one). Insurance – not required and never asked for it in over a year. International driver’s license – not required and they insisted I was in big trouble for not producing one.  We were searched repeatedly. They would point at the wrong page in our passports and tell us we were in the country illegally, or that we had smuggled Bode. We were asked how much money we have – cash – many times.   And, I kid you not… I was asked to open the front hood.

Each time I was polite and told them I was not doing anything wrong and indicated I knew the law.  I politely showed the one guy that our engine was in the back and that the front didn’t open.

For the most part, these guys just seemed to be fucking with us. I don’t know how they would have gotten a bribe unless I was just an idiot and started throwing money at them. Driving this stretch of road is just a huge headache… until you actually do something wrong.

They have radars and cameras, and mobile ‘police offices’ – unseen anywhere else in Argentina. This is where I got caught actually breaking the law. I’m now a true international criminal.

After a brief stop to stretch our legs, I pulled back out on the carretera without turning on my headlights.  A major violation. They got me.

First, we went through the tired old routine. I was driving illegally without an international permit. We had illegally entered the country, etc, etc. We were in big trouble. We were searched. They wanted to know how much cash we had (answer: none) and insisted we must be carrying plenty of cash.  After 30 minutes of explaining away all of our other major offenses, I was left with one thing – what I was actually doing wrong – the headlights.

These yahoos insisted it was an 800 peso (about $200 USD) fine and they would impound the car if I didn’t pay up immediately. They insisted it was all on camera (doubtful) and there was no possible way they could let me off without paying. Another 10 minutes went by and suddenly the multa went down to 400 pesos, and they continued to insist that there is no possible way I can be traveling without that kind of money because of all the toll booths (they’re actually pretty good at this). I continued to deny I had any money and couldn’t pay and insisted on a written ticket.

Almost an hour after getting stopped, I walked out of their mobile police office with a written ticket for 114 pesos. I slapped down my exact change and they gave me a receipt without saying a word.

Note: there are also federal checkpoints with military guys in green uniforms – these guys are legit. Just watch out for the local yahoos.

15 thoughts on “Entre Rios Sucks

  • July 12, 2012 at 11:51 AM
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    Are you sure you’re not in Arizona???

  • July 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM
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    Y nosotros nos quejamos de nuestros carabineros
    los argentinos son peores

    Fuerza!!!

  • July 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM
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    Wow. It makes me angry just reading your explanation of the events. Sorry you had to go through that. It just goes to show, there are a-holes in every part of the world. Good for you for standing up for yourself and not letting them fleece you.

  • July 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM
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    is that a 25 percent discount printed on the ticket
    in the U S that would be 25 percent more FEES

  • July 12, 2012 at 5:14 PM
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    We had to run from the police in Peru. They accused us of running a red light (we did not) and they kept our documents (luckily we had only given them copies-good ones) while they insisted us to follow them to the police station. This went on a while, they drove off while we waited patiently. They came back and same story….. I saw that this was going to be a longer than normal stop- and we’re like you…. NO WAY we were paying bribes!!! Sonext time they went around the corner we sped off in the other direction….. Well at least as fast as a Westy can speed. Our hearts were pounding ! I thought they may get us at the next check stop, but we made it through….

  • July 12, 2012 at 7:45 PM
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    Congratulations! On the brighter side… Driving for how many years with corrupt police of varying degrees, and you only now got a ticket… I’d say you are way ahead of the curve! Saludos from Peru

    Eric n Vaneza

  • July 13, 2012 at 12:40 AM
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    Good for you! Love your tenacity…. Jason looks like a wild man now, btw. 🙂

  • July 14, 2012 at 3:51 AM
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    The main reason we stayed away from “entre dos rios” in Argentina: I didn’t want that headache! We had some major trouble with corrupt police in others part of Argentina, where my wife went several times through the routine of telling off the young police men in a “criticising mother bad son” manner (which always made them shrink to human size)…

  • July 20, 2012 at 7:11 PM
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    hahaha, Entre Rios means between 2 rivers (Uruguay & Parana). Eeach side is totally different…

    The route 14 that borders rio uruguay is internationally known by this cops behavior.

    We went thru that route last year with our westy and as we were getting closer chajari the cops were searching dope inside the van. Thanks to that, I learned how to get to the water tank without tearing apart the whole forniture.

    On the other hand, route 12 it’s totally different!.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/115793492265573016744/CATARAUTOSSEMANASANTA2011

  • Pingback: BodesWell » Vamonos a Uruguay! Otra vez!

  • November 7, 2012 at 10:16 PM
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    I had a big headache whie crossing the border from Argentina to Chile in that route between Mendoza and Santiago. The ARG’s told me and friend were illegally in the country beacuse we didn’t had a stamp of entry in the passport etc etc.
    In the insurance side, any brasilians who drive in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay are required to make what they call a ”green tab” insurance, it is like 50 bucks and valid for 30 days.

    Entre Rios is known for very corrupt police.

  • August 16, 2013 at 12:01 AM
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    NO PAGUEN LAS MULTAS EN ENTRE RIOS…SIMPLEMENTE NO SE DEJEN SACAR PLATA QUE HAGAN TODAS LAS QUE QUIERAN…

  • August 1, 2014 at 8:32 AM
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    Lo que dice más arriba es cierto: “Entre Rios is known (and famous in this area) for corrupt police”
    I am from Paraguay and me and my family never ever choose a place to visit in Argentina if we have to across Entre Rios!! I prefer to take the longer route to avoid them!!

  • January 2, 2017 at 11:58 AM
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    So we were stopped at this entre trios police stop and we told them that we had no cash to pay so after 30 minutes of back and forth they gave us an outrageous 4000 pesos ticket for not having the light on during the day. Do we have to pay this ticket or should we just forget it about?

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