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Ismael Rosa

Life in Prison - Cocaine

My name is Ismael Rosa. I am serving a life sentence in the Federal prison system for intent to possess and possession of powder cocaine. My trial lasted six weeks, and eight of us out of seventeen were indicted. The leader of this so-called conspiracy got 30 years; yet I was sentenced to life as a minor or lower conspirator.

I have been locked up for six years now on this life sentence.

I had worked always since high school, for the Board of Education in Chicago, at Carpenter's School for six years. In the early 1970s I was a leading musical artist in Chicago supporting the late Mayor Richard Daley, all the Daley sons and with Mayor Washington. I also worked with Congressman Luis Gutierres helping raise funds for him and other distinguished politicians.

When U.S. President George Bush, Sr. talked to the National Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, I was the artist who provided music and entertainment with my salsa orchestra at the gathering. Yet the U.S. Attorney said I was unemployed and made my living selling drugs. Today I am in prison for the rest of my life.

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