Seduced by the Glamor of Cocaine, I Deserved a Prison Sentence
Prior to federal authorities opening a criminal case against me, I had never known anyone who had served time in prison. My parents reared my two sisters and me in a relatively affluent, north Seattle suburb. They were small business owners and provided every opportunity for success. I lacked the good judgment to appreciate all the privileges I was given as a young man.
A few years after graduating from Shorecrest high school, I joined a friend in a scheme to distribute cocaine. As I was, my friend was also the son of small business owners. Neither of us were without opportunities, yet we chose to venture into a lifestyle that we believed would bring excitement to our lives. At the time, popular culture was influencing young minds with the glamor of cocaine trafficking. We mistakenly believed that we could profit quickly and substantially without exposing ourselves to risks that we couldn’t control. Neither of us had experienced the wrath of the criminal justice system before, and we failed to appreciate the severity with which we would be judged.
Between 1985 and 1987, I presided over a scheme to purchase cocaine in Miami. Other friends from high school would transport the cocaine to Seattle, and my partner would distribute the cocaine to clients we had cultivated. All of the relationships were with consenting adults, and neither weapons nor violence played a part in our operation. Nevertheless, we now recognize that violence plays a role in many drug crimes.
As a consequence of my decisions, I was charged with numerous crimes related to drug trafficking. After being convicted, my judge imposed a 45-year prison term. I began serving my sentence inside the high walls of a United States Penitentiary with a few thousand high-security prisoners. The laws under which I was convicted offer opportunities to earn time off for serving my sentence without disciplinary infractions. I expect to serve about 25 years on my sentence before I will be released from prison.
As of this entry, I have more than 21 years of prison behind me. My focus has always been on preparing for the life I want to lead upon release. To that end, I have built a record that shows my commitment to reconciling with society. I worked to educate myself and to contribute to society in every way possible. The total focus I have made has enabled me to avoid confrontation and altercation with both prisoners and staff. I feel proud of the way that I have responded to the problems I created, yet still humiliated by the bad decisions I made as a young man – the decisions that led me to prison.
My belief has always been that the length of my sentence was too long and that it served no useful purpose for society. Despite those personal beliefs, I have done my best to serve the sanction with dignity. I look forward to my return to society and the opportunities that will open for me to contribute.