It's been a traumatic year and a half for Terry Kennedy and his fiancée, Dawn Marie Wilson, who was recently released from a Mexican prison.
"It was an incredibly painful experience," Wilson said.
Wilson spent 18 months in a Mexican prison called Ojos Negros outside Ensenada, Mexico.
"For the first five days, I had no clue where I was, what the problem was or what I had done wrong," Wilson said.
Wilson and Kennedy live part time on a boat near La Paz, Mexico. She was driving there when Mexican police stopped her and charged her for carrying unauthorized prescription drugs. She had purchased them at a Mexican pharmacy with an American, not a Mexican, prescription.
"Once I was brought in, I was kept for my credit cards and my money," Wilson told 10News.
The police charged $4,200 on her debit card. She was sentenced to five years.
"(In the prison, there were a) lot of drugs, (a lot) of prostitution, no sanitation, no (flushing) toilets, no showers, no running water and cockroaches," Wilson said.
Kennedy said he put in calls for help to everybody from the president of the United States on down. It wasn't until he put a call to San Diego-area Rep. Bob Filner's office that he got a response, 10News reported.
"Dawn was initially stopped because she was wearing shorts and the cops wanted to talk to her. They eventually stole her credit card and then I think charged her with a crime to cover up their own theft," Filner told 10News.
Filner used a diplomatic treaty to get Wilson out of prison through a prisoner exchange. Despite her ordeal, she plans to return to Mexico.
"We'd love to live back in Mexico, have a boat in Mexico and (we) still want to go back there," Wilson said.
But, she said she'll never go back to a Mexican pharmacy.
Wilson is urging people to avoid Mexican pharmacies or make sure they know every rule before purchasing prescriptions in Mexico.
Filner is calling on the U.S. consulate to be more aggressive protecting the rights of Americans in Mexican custody.
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