Jessica Carver’s vacation to Mexico was almost over before it began.

Hours after she arrived, rather than relaxing on the beach or enjoying her hotel, she was sitting in a foreign jail … and all because of the common product she had in her purse.

Image Credit: Screen Shot/KSL News

As KSL News reports, Jessica and her husband Jordan had traveled from their home in Utah to Puerto Vallarta for a family vacation. While still at the airport, customs agents searched Jessica’s bag and found the remainder of a box of Sudafed she had brought along. There were only seven or eight pills, still contained in the packaging, but Jessica was informed that the drug was not permitted in Mexico.

“At that point, I didn’t think I’d have to go anywhere else,” Jessica told KSL. “I was like, ‘Oh, it will be a couple hours.'”

Unfortunately, that was just the beginning. After spending seven hours in the airport, Jessica was sent to the District Attorney’s office because she refused to sign a form acknowledging that she had done something illegal.

Image Credit: Screen Shot/KSL News

Jessica says she was manhandled as she was transferred to the District Attorney’s office, then was moved again to a “sketchy,” and “disgusting” jail cell for a long, lonely night under guard. The next day, she was taken to a doctor and given a cursory examination.

While Jessica was detained, family members were doing everything possible to help, including contacting the U.S. consulate and working with a local attorney who demanded $1,500 in cash for his services. Almost 24 hours after her ordeal began, Jessica was finally freed.

Image Credit: Screen Shot/KSL News

The most frustrating part of all? As Jessica was released, officials asked if she wanted her Sudafed back. When she refused, she was told that she could find more at a nearby pharmacy. Relatives also found similar medication for sale at their resort.

That one can be detained for bringing Sudafed into Mexico was a surprise to other experienced travelers, and the State Department is looking into the issue. Jessica finally got to enjoy her vacation, but hopes that her story will serve as a warning to others.

“We were floored and we were dumbfounded that this had happened because of the Sudafed,” she said. “We felt like we had no rights.”

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