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Willie Edwards, Jr.


27 Years, Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substance

I have been incarcerated for 8 years on a conspiracy charge related to narcotics trafficking. The district court held me responsible for 47 kilograms of heroin. There was no physical evidence, only the testimony from my uncle's ex-wife who admitted at the sentencing hearing that she was a drug addict and had used heroin all day, every day for six years. At the time of her arrest, she had an $800-a-day-habit.

Her husband and my uncle, the so-called kingpin, wrote in an affidavit that her drug habit impaired her memory. In testimony she offered no details about what was going on around her and could hardly recollect what happened yesterday. She had seizures all the time from doing too many drugs from morning 'til night. It isn't right for the government to use testimony from someone with an impaired mind to destroy another human being's life. When my attorney asked her if she felt that drugs impaired her mind and affected the way she remembers things, she said, "Yes."

The government prosecutors insisted that since I was involved in the conspiracy at the same time as my uncle, then that makes me accountable for the same amount of heroin. I'm not saying I wasn't involved in the conspiracy, and I stated I was involved in the conspiracy for five weeks during the time my uncle gave me a place to stay. I would sometimes answer the phone and take messages. I'd run errands for him in trade for heroin, and like the government said, they caught me delivering a $10 and $20 bag. I did it for the drugs, not for a conspiracy. At first he would give me the drugs for free, for not doing anything. Then he would say I couldn't have any drugs unless I'd go out and deliver the drugs. So to keep from being sick, I would do what he said, and I would get the drugs when I got back. He handled everybody that hung out at his house this way.

I wasn't a leader or partner in this conspiracy in my way of thinking. I was just a drug addict and an alcoholic, not a drug dealer. I began drinking at age 15, and every day, if I could get alcohol, I would get drunk. I began injecting heroin at age 18, using from 1974 to 1990. In 1981 I started taking cocaine with the heroin, and began smoking crack in 1992. I was at my uncle's house because he's "family," and there were drugs available.

I wanted to plead guilty to conspiracy charges for five weeks of working with my uncle. Instead, it became two years and 47 kilograms of heroin like US prosecutors insist. They even charged me for the heroin in my uncle's pajama pocket when he was arrested. At the sentencing, I didn't know I was supposed to argue and contest the amount of drugs. My attorney visited me at M.C.C. Chicago to tell me that I had to withdraw my plea agreement with the government concerning the weight of the drugs listed in the PSI report. And I didn't know what to do then, but I know now that I didn't have to withdraw my plea. He lied to me. It is really a shame how the government is abusing their power to punish the poor, underprivileged and non-violent offenders.

My uncle's ex-wife sold drugs for years and only received a sentence of 5 years probation. She may not even know that her lies put me away for 27 years. I had already left my uncle's house and had a job in Minneapolis when I was arrested on this conspiracy charge. I was doing pretty good for myself there and wasn't doing anything wrong, trying to clean up, just going to work and coming home.

I got involved in this conspiracy by being a drug addict and an alcoholic. I guess I was easy bait, but I'm not going to blame anyone further. I will continue to fight for my freedom just like my forefathers and learn to live righteously always.

Willie Edwards, Jr 05585-041
Federal Medical Center
PO Box 14500
Lexington, KY 40512-4503

Updated 6/21/02

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