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  • Writer's pictureDetained in Dubai

Mr USA contender detained in Dubai

24 year old “Mr Louisiana” title holder and social media influencer is facing jail in Dubai after being drugged on a night out.

The next possible Mr USA is an air force veteran and B-52 mechanic and Honor Guardsman but he may not be able to compete for the title after being arrested while on holiday in Dubai. 9 months ago, Joseph left the military and began advocating for mental health. The social media influencer “tries to inspire and make people laugh and feel related to”.

Joseph intended to take a two week break in Dubai before preparing to compete for Mr USA and eventually Mr Universe but on the 2nd of June, he and his brother went to a club called Bla Bla. They had a great time and were feeling energised. Outside, an Uber driver approached them and suggested an “after party” in a hotel. The brothers agreed and without asking, were taken to a VIP section. They were brought platters of food, sparklers and drinks that were not requested. Then about twenty minutes later, the lights turned on for closing and a bill was brought to Joseph. He felt he had been scammed but knowing the rules in Dubai, paid the amount without argument. “Uber drivers and other promoters are paid by some venues to bring tourists in”, confirmed Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Due Process International. In this case, it appears they have gone a step further by forcing food and beverages onto them while making them appear to be free. In other scams, women employed by the restaurant and bars, try to get tourists to buy them a drink that they don’t actually consume”.

Joseph was approached by a man at the party who invited him to his yacht. “I’m done spending for the night”, explained Joseph, but the man insisted. He told Joseph and his brother, Joshua, they would be his “American guests” so they agreed. After arriving on the yacht, they were provided with a drink then staff tried to charge them AED 10,000 (US$2,2700+) but Joshua refused several times. Suddenly, the brothers both felt weird. They don’t remember what transpired until they were confronted by men in black ski masks who only spoke Arabic. They tried to throw them into a vehicle but the brothers thought they were being abducted. Their lives were in danger so they tried to break free. “They didn’t realise the men were plain clothed police officers”, says Stirling. “Plain clothed police officers often forcefully approach tourists, grab them and intimidate them without identifying themselves. Of course the tourist is going to defend themselves to what they perceive to be assault or worse. They end up unfairly being charged with resisting arrest or assault of a police officer. This shouldn’t happen”.

The brothers were taken to the police station and held overnight. They were not breathalysed for at least 24 hours, after they were sober and several days later took a urine sample but this was once any drug residue from the drinks had been expelled. “The brothers told officers on arrival at the station that they had been drugged but the police didn’t test them. Police usually take samples immediately on arrival to preserve evidence against the detainee. It’s highly unusual and suspicious to wait several days for a test, particularly when they have been told about the concerns”. Local cellmates told the brothers it’s common to drug visitors and take advantage of them. “We’ve all heard about this practice in holiday destinations, but it’s a shame to see it happening in Dubai where the victim can be drugged, robbed and then wrongfully detained. It’s double abuse”, added Stirling.

Joseph and Joshua were held at Al Barsha police station from the 3rd - 12th of June when they were given bail with a travel ban. They can not leave the country but haven’t been officially charged. The decision rests with the prosecutor but they have been considering charging them with alcohol consumption, resisting arrest and damage to the patrol vehicle before they realised the masked men were police.

“The legal process in Dubai can be drawn out for months and often the punishment is the process. We hope authorities in the UAE drop the investigation against Joseph and Joshua and move to investigate those potentially involved in crimes against tourists”.

Joseph hopes he can leave the country, continue his work in mental health and run for Mr USA.  If convicted, he faces years in Dubai's notorious jails where countless foreigners have been beaten, tortured and even killed.


Radha Stirling

CEO at Detained in Dubai

+44 7 309 114 195WhatsAppemail


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