British Woman Deported And Told She Can't Enter US For 10-Years Over 'Cocaine Text Message'
Isabella Brazier-Jones, 28, from West London, flew to Los Angeles, California, with her best mate Olivia Cura, 26, on the 12 March this year - but her plans for an 'adventure' across the pond were short lived after officials became suspicious of the pair.
The friends, who met while at drama school RADA, said they spent £3,500 on flights, accommodation insurance and car rental for their trip, which was to include one month in LA and one month in New York.
But Isabella says immigration officials were concerned about the amount of time they planned to spend in the US. She says she was hauled into a backroom, had her belongings confiscated and had her phone checked.
An immigration worker discovered a 2017 message on Isabella's phone, which mentioned cocaine and 'coaxed' her to admitting she had taken it.
Isabella says the trip was supposed to be an 'adventure' and a chance to experience a different for her and her friend after suffering a break up and 'mental health issues'.
"We had the idea about six months before we left and we went to town on planning the trip in the new year," she said.
"It was on our bucket list and it became a light at the end of the tunnel after break ups and mental health issues.
"We both quit our jobs - I was working as a private chef and Olivia had been working as a youth worker.
"I did up my flat and rented it out to make some money for the trip.
"We uprooted our lives basically."
The women say they both obtained Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) permits for the trip, which allow visitors to stay in the US for up to 90 days without a visa, but once they landed, Isabella says they were grilled about their plans.
She said: "I was asked the generic questions such as where I was staying and they didn't like the answers I was giving.
"I felt very sweaty in the situation.
"I'm a really small, blonde girl who looks very young.
"You couldn't see a more cute little girl and I was finding the whole thing quite comical at first because I've never been put in a corner that way before."
Isabella says she was asked about her finances and about her love life - questioning if she was in a relationship or if she was hoping to meet someone in the US.
An hour later Olivia was told that she was free to enter the US, but Isabella was taken to a deportation centre.
She said: "As soon as you enter that room, you are not allowed anything - no food, no phone calls.
"I was held in a group cell with four other women.
"If you have any queries you are told to shut up and sit down.
"I was with a Lithuanian woman, two Mexican ladies and a Turkish lady. The room was divided in the middle and it was women on one side and men on the other.
"There was strip lighting and two camp beds on our side and the TV played constant R&B music videos.
"It was torture.
"I had to wait for about five hours before I even got my first round of interrogation.
"It was repeated over and over again."
She says she was questioned by 'several different' officials, body searched and told to sign some documents.
Isabella says during the final interrogation, officials told her they found messages referring to cocaine.
She added: "You never see the messages or the emails that they say they are referring to.
"They started referencing messages on my phone that they had found about drugs.
"I was stumped then, and I am stumped now about what message they were talking about.
"I have friends who go out partying and friends who are in recovery who have messaged me about drug use.
"I have messages that mention someone needing coke and I have messages saying 'did you take coke last night?'
"I just don't know what message they found or were referring to and they never told me.
"They coaxed me into admitting that I had tried a line of cocaine in 2017. Because I admitted to taking cocaine, they charged me with possession of drugs and deported me.
"They told me I have now have a 10-year ban from entering the US.
"I was escorted back onto a plane by two armed police officers."
Meanwhile, pal Olivia was in a hotel nearby but without her mate decided that she didn't want to stay in the US and the pair flew home together.
Isabella added: "I think that the system has gotten incredibly carried away. It is so obviously a power trip. You are not talking to human beings.
"I am concerned that natural human empathy has been lost as officials follow Trump's directions. I really want to open people's eyes.
"This treatment is applied to Mexicans and Muslims but it's also becoming a mass situation.
"I think they took against me because I was a posh, white blonde girl.
"I lost £3,500 that I spent on flights, insurance, accommodation, renting a car, doing up my flat to rent it out."
Representatives at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Dept of Homeland Security, the British Consulate in Los Angeles and Norwegian Airlines all declined to comment on her case.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS