When you enter a foreign country, you become subject to its laws, which can be considerably harsher than our American system. For example, jury trials do not exist in many countries.
Nearly a third of American arrests abroad are drug related. Several hundred Americans each year are arrested, not because they are drug dealers, but because they were bribed or duped into carrying packages containing drugs, and they are caught and imprisoned.
Before you travel, familiarize yourself with the country and learn something about its legal system. Never agree to carry a package onto a flight for anyone. Do not accept a wrapped gift before boarding an aircraft. If you are arrested, immediately ask to speak to a consular officer.
Consular officers are stationed at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. Such officers can provide important assistance to you while incarcerated, including obtaining money from home and finding you legal representation. They can also monitor the physical conditions of your confinement.