Oregon man falsely held in Mexican prison: 'You only see these t - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon man falsely held in Mexican prison: 'You only see these things in movies'

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Troy Bachman, with his son and wife in Welches Friday. Troy Bachman, with his son and wife in Welches Friday.
Troy Bachmann spent 258 days in a Mexican prison after he said he was arrested without proof on false charges of agricultural fraud. Troy Bachmann spent 258 days in a Mexican prison after he said he was arrested without proof on false charges of agricultural fraud.

He was held on false charges in a Mexican prison for more than eight months, but now Troy Bachmann is back home in Welches and speaking about his ordeal, one even he can’t believe.

“I think at first it’s really hard for people to recognize, well, what’s the real story? Is this person there for a reason or is this a real shakedown, a Mexican shakedown?  And it really turned out to be a Mexican shakedown,” Bachmann said Friday. “I could tell you so many details, but they’re hard for me to believe because you only see these things in movies.”

Bachmann spent more than 20 years building various businesses in Mexico, and was heading up a successful produce export company when he says employees turned on him in the spring. 

He was arrested without proof in May, and thrown into one of Mexico’s most violent and corrupt prisons in Tepic, Nayarit, on charges of agricultural fraud.

He said his wife, Sara, visited him twice, bringing their young son with her on one occasion. 

“You want people to visit you because you’re so depressed, or you have this disparity and you need to see people that you know and that trust you,” he said. “But yet, on the other hand, it is such a sad place you don’t want them to come.”

Eventually, Bachmann said, people came to their home and made threats. 

Three months into his fight for freedom, they decided she and the baby should leave Mexico for the safety of the United States.

After eight and a half months in prison, Bachmann said the tide finally turned when his imprisonment helped prompt U.S. State Department alerts that warned tourists not to travel to certain Mexican states.

“That really put the pressure [on], because then you have hotels and other business owners starting to call the D.A.’s office going, ‘What’s going on with our state?  Why are they deferring tourism here?’” he explained. “It was that step that put my case to the top of the pile, and got the attention of people who could make decisions down there.”

But getting out of Mexico was a carefully orchestrated operation, Bachmann said – one that took nearly 10 hours between prison walls and border gates.

Bachmann said he finally escaped with the help of his attorney, elected officials and the U.S. Government.

“[I was] basically smuggled out in the back of a little Toyota car and rushed three hours south to the nearest airport in Guadalajara, and the American Consulate was involved and they had everything set up for me to get out as quick as possible. It was almost like a military operation, the State Department knew where I was and how I was getting there,” he said. “You’re locked up for so long and days seem like weeks and all of a sudden you’re out and you’re hiding in the back of a car because you don’t want people to see you leaving.”

Bachmann reached U.S. soil on Feb. 1 and was reunited with his wife, son, friends and family.

He had been in prison for 258 days.

“258 days, guarantee, seemed like 1,000. Every day felt like five days. But you don’t have a choice, either. You’re there whether you want to be there or not,” Bachmann said. “It’s just a huge, huge sigh of relief [to be home]. All of a sudden I’m a human being again, I’m an American citizen again.”

The whole experience is still so surreal, Bachmann said it will take some time for it to all sink in and for him to adjust to his new-found freedom.

In the process, he said he’s lost his home in Mexico and the business he worked so hard to build.

Bachmann said, eventually, the people who betrayed him will be held accountable.

“They will be, absolutely. The story’s not over. We’re just turning to a new chapter,” he said. 

Bachmann’s family is throwing a welcome home party for Troy at the family business, The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. Friends and community members are welcome to attend.

If you’d like to help with ongoing legal fees and other expenses, you can donate at any U.S. Bank branch to the “Friends of Troy” account.

“I’m just grateful to be back here and I’ve got to pick up a lot of the pieces from the fallout,” he said. “It’s quite the adjustment to make. It’s just going to take some time to get back on my feet and go forward again.”

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