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Friday, July 15, 2011

Walking into a Drug Bust

I know I mentioned it briefly but last weekend I went to Florence for the weekend with a group of my classmates. I did not however tell you of our little adventure the first night we were in town. After a dinner the group of us were sitting in one of the Florence's many Piazzas, people watching and trying to figure out where we were headed to next. I noticed before dinner the piazzas was not one of Florence's finest areas (i.e. there were a lot of homeless/ sketchy backpackers drinking beer out of brown paper bags).  Anyways after looking at the map we got up and started to head down a road back to our hostel. About 20 yards ahead of us was a group of four maybe five young Italian guys hanging on. We were probably about 10 to 15 yards in front of group of locals when out of nowhere a young Italian guy in everyday street clothes jumped in front of us flashed us a bag and asked to see our passports. I didn't even think about it was just instincts that kicked in but immediately I turned around and looked for one of uniform cops that was back in the piazza.  It didn't take long for me to find a police officer in a light blue uniform (further confirming the place was a little bit sketchy, that many police normally don't hang out in piazzas). I quickly looked back at the group and there were three cops in dark blue uniforms talking with my classmates and two other officers the group of locals and a police car was just pulling up as well.

Thankfully the cop I approached spoke a little bit of English and confirmed that the guy with the badge was actually a cop just a "regional" police officer thus explaining the different color uniforms.  I was concerned because they guy flashing the bag wasn't in a uniform and had heard stories of pickpockets posing as undercover police. I started to head back over to the group of my classmates. By this time the cops in the car pulled out a big German Sheppard who was sniffing around the area were the group of locals was hanging out. Again thank God, one of the police officers in dark blue spoke English and kept asking us if we had any drugs, of course none of us did. The English speaking officer was very nice and we chatted while another officer was on his cell phone apparently checking the passports of two of my classmates who had handed theirs over.

All I could think of while I was talking to the officer was the conversation I had with my Mom about the Amanda Knox case. A brief summary of the conversation was even though now all the evidence says she didn't kill her roommate, due to the language barrier she ended up answering "yes" when asked if she killed her roommate. Italian law isn't like the US, there is no innocent until proven guilty. All the cops need is a confession, does not matter if you understand what you are confessing to or not. So during the conversation when the cop kept asking us if we had drugs I started to get nervous. He explained to us that apparently the undercover cop smelled something in the area we were headed towards. After the cop on the phone hung up and gave back the passports he told us we were free to go. The whole ordeal lasted maybe twenty minutes but is sure felt longer than that. So lesson learned, stay away from sketchy areas.


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