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Banned & Deported for 2-Year-Old Texts About Cocaine

Banned & Deported for 2-Year-Old Texts About Cocaine
Brenda Bertram

Are there any incriminating texts or e-mails on your phone? If there might be, even if there from a while ago, you might want to delete them, save them to the cloud or maybe leave the whole thing at home and bring a burner with you the next time you go abroad. Recently, someone told Vice a story about how 2-year-old texts (or maybe e-mails, she’s not sure) got her turned away at the border, told that she was an “official felon” and banned from the United States for 10 years.

What happened exactly? In her article for Vice UK, London resident and actress Issy Brazier-Jones says the incident started when she told the border control officer that she and the friend she was traveling with were visiting the United States for the first time and staying for two months: one month in Los Angeles and one month in New York City.

When the officer heard how long the two were staying, he asked Issy how much money was in her bank account. When she told him (Issy doesn’t disclose just how much was in the bank account in the Vice article) he said that that wasn’t enough and asked “a bombardment of questions” before he confiscated her phone and her passport (and her travel companion’s) and escorted them both separately into the “deportation center” where the two friends were told not to look at eachother.

Later, says Issy, she was interrogated eight times over a 24 hour period to determine whether she was really working or vacationing in the country. When she maintained that she was just visiting, they searched her phone and “brought up emails from five years ago.”

That’s when they found a reference to cocaine on her phone. When they asked her whether or not she’d taken cocaine before, Issy says, “I didn’t want to lie, so said: ‘Yeah, I’ve tried it before.’ That’s how I got deported because of a reference they said was from two years ago.”

Issy told Vice that she doesn’t know “what text it was, and when I got back I just deleted everything off my phone. I’ve got a lot of people I know in recovery, including family, so I wondered if it was that. There have been references in texts after a night out from friends asking me if I ‘took coke last night.’ I don’t think I even replied! It’s a really hard thing because you live in London, and it just becomes part of your vocabulary.”

She does know that she doesn’t plan on ever coming to the United States again, even after her 10-year ban from the country is up.


You can read more on this story on Vice.


[Image: pxhere]

View Comments (14)


  1. arcticflier

    June 22, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    Wow, if you live in London then cocaine just becomes part of the vocabulary?

    Good riddance to Issy.

    Sounds like she was going to be working illegally and kudos to the Officer.

  2. mvoight

    June 24, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    If she got banned for 10 years, there is more to the story.

  3. docbert

    June 24, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Technically she lied on her ESTA/Visa application. One of the question is “Have you ever violated any law related to possessing, using, or distributing illegal drugs?”. Presuming she answered “no” to that question, then by admitting to it in the interview, she’s confirmed the lie.

    There’s zero chance that this is what actually caused her to be refused entry – if she was really detained for 24 hours and interviewed 8 times, then there’s zero chance she was getting in regardless.

  4. JakeRobertson212

    June 25, 2019 at 3:52 am

    Admittedly, I’ve never been to London….but this blows my mind (see what I did there):

    “There have been references in texts after a night out from friends asking me if I ‘took coke last night.’ I don’t think I even replied! It’s a really hard thing because you live in London, and it just becomes part of your vocabulary.”

    Is coke that prominent in London that friends ask if you did it when they find out you went out the night before?

  5. GUWonder

    June 25, 2019 at 10:45 am

    The two British women were removed from the US probably because CBP thought the story of what they would be doing in California and New York didn’t add up or that they were going to work illegally in the US. The questions and phone searches suggest that the CBP probably wanted to see if the two British women were involved in the prostitution and/or drug trade.

    Two females being unemployed acting school students/actors with no firm reasons to go back to their country of legal residence/citizenship, no proper hotel booking, and “too little” money for a several week stay seems like a recipe to have trouble with CBP at LAX? Can’t say I’m surprised they had a problem. A pair of women coming into there under such circumstances and being checked for involvement in the drug and/or prostitution trade or “hook-ups” in the entertainment industry? It’s not the first time that young adult females, when considered attractive by border control types, end up in secondary and more likely to be removed. It happens at times to some young American women coming to the UK too, but then it’s mainly to solo American women with barely used, new passports “meeting”’ some guy they “know” from the internet.

    An admission to cocaine use came late enough in the stage that they were already in trouble by that point, but that was enough to push the two ESTA-users out.

  6. blatchp

    June 26, 2019 at 1:50 am

    Gives London a bad reputation, or lets say worse then it is already. No sympathy, I tend to agree there’s more to the story then we have been given here!

  7. Freebird

    June 26, 2019 at 6:10 am

    There are certain red herrings during the CBP “Q & A” session upon arrival and anyone saying they will stay for months will likely set them off.

    Another case I know of involved a young man bringing a guitar with him, which led to follow up questions if he was going to play gigs with said guitars. The poor sod, thinking a gig in exchange for food & drink was legal – it isn’t – replied in the affirmative and … yada yada yada – hours later he got sent back to Germany and banned for years. On top of that his plans of studying in the US in the future were ruined as well. All of this just because he brought his own guitar … not like you can’t buy a good used one while in the US.

    Some folks are just to naive about these things. Entry, even with a visa isn’t guaranteed, so us foreigners need to be prepared.

  8. Danwriter

    June 26, 2019 at 6:45 am

    Two credits in five years. “Unemployed” seems accurate.

  9. Disneymkvii

    June 26, 2019 at 7:27 am

    Good job, Border Patrol! We’ve got enough useless coke heads in this country, we didn’t need two more.

  10. largeeyes

    June 27, 2019 at 12:58 am

    Why people actually want to visit the US is beyond me.

  11. fahrradman

    July 3, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    I’m sure the CPB thought they came to the US to pursue acting or other work without a proper visa. One month in New York and one month in Los Angeles, these are the places one would go to pursue work in the acting industry. Throw in that they weren’t able to show proof that they had the financial resources to support such a trip, I’m not surprised they got red-flagged. I suspect the two year old cocaine email story was a red herring.

    BTW, same thing will happen to an American who rocks up to a UK port for purposes of working without a visa.

  12. timesnaps

    July 10, 2019 at 3:08 am

    @largeeyes Totally agree… although the country has some great places and people to experience. But the way they treat you before, as and when you enter – made me promise to myself never to return. Dont miss it whatsoever

  13. kyanar

    July 16, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    @fahrradman Yes but looking for work isn’t illegal, and is actually one of the permitted activities on a tourist Visa, provided that you do not actually commence work until you have secured the proper Visa. It would be unreasonable otherwise, given that to get a US work Visa you must have an offer of employment.

  14. Occupationalhazard

    July 24, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    London, were cocaine comes round with the canapés.

    I do get the sense that there’s more to this story, even though ‘moron with badge’ is certainly still in play.

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