Sentenced to 15 years, 8 Months
Charged with conspiracy to import cocaine
Living in the United States is the dream of thousands of people
around the world; it was my dream too. Fifteen years ago I came
here with a firm determination to
make dreams come true and to accomplish my goals. Well, it was
fine for awhile. I can say that I was happy; I had a pretty home,
a husband and two children, Danny, now 14 and Melanie, 8. It
was fine until one day about seven years ago when I trusted an
individual and loaned him $4,000. That misplaced trust changed
and destroyed our family's life forever.
We knew little about drug laws, and nothing about conspiracy
crime. We also didn't know how easy it is to be sent to prison
in this country on conspiracy charges. We learned the hard way
that the government pays informants to fabricate cases, to commit
perjury, to 'cooperate' and negotiate for reduced sentences in
order to put first-time offenders in prison for very long terms.
One paid informant and career criminal was paid $80,000 by the
DEA to fabricate a case against my husband and me.
We believed in the US legal system, and we exercised our constitutional
Sixth Amendment right to go to trial. Yes! The jury found us
guilty, and I was sentenced to sixteen years of incarceration
and my husband to thirteen years with no parole. In seconds my
children became homeless and suffered the consequences of our
naivete and poor judgement.
I did not want to separate them
from me and thanks to God I was able to place them in the Children's
Baptist Home, a foster-care facility here in Tallahassee, Florida.
I saw them very often and was doing my best to nurture the mother-child
bond and avoid more severe psychological damage, but my son could
not make it. One day the foster home called to say they could
not take care of him anymore. I was going crazy because I did
not want to separate him from his sister and me. I wanted to
keep the three of us together, but I did not have a choice and
I had to send him to Miami to a friend's house. He left a year
ago while my daughter still remains at the foster home here in
Since my arrest, my overweight son has been suffering with depression,
anxiety, and eating disorders. He cannot concentrate during school
and adjusts poorly at home. This situation is really painful
for me, but there is so little that I can do from prison. I keep
my faith and continue fighting because I know they need me very
I urge everyone to join the fight to reform the judiciary system
so that every citizen could have a fair trial - not one based
on the power of prosecutors and paid informants as in my case.
In a democratic government every citizen (as the Sixth Amendment
of our Constitution guarantees) should be able to have a fair
trial regardless of lack of knowledge, language, power and money
and not to be found guilty because of lies.
Saira Florez 30579-004
501 Capital Circle NE
Tallahassee, FL 32301-3572
Updated - 7/22/02
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