Tom Kelly -- #42580-008

16 Years -- Drug Conspiracy

Tom Kelly, prisoner of the drug war
I was a family man with a beautiful, loving wife and six wonderful children. I worked hard and had a good job. I was arrested after coming home from work one night, for "conspiracy to distribute drugs." It was my first experience ever with the law.

Two years previously I had allowed someone I barely knew to use my garage to fix his car after his transmission froze. He was completely broke, just a kid of 19. He did some small dope deals to pay for his car parts, though he was still so poor he slept in his broken car. I threw him out after a few weeks, which ended our relationship on bad terms.

His drug selling expanded greatly over the next year and a half before he died in an accident. He had been selling to a number of my friends he had met while staying and fixing his car in my garage.

Those friends, whom I had known all my life, were arrested after this dealer died, and decided the time they faced for this dealing was too daunting. They agreed to provide testimony to the government that falsely indicted me in their conspiracy.

After three attempts -- three trials over 30 months -- I was finally convicted and sentenced to almost 16 years. I was sentenced not only for the few ounces my "friends" "recalled" they sold me, but for the entire weight of a conspiracy that spread over four states and included nearly two dozen people, almost all of whom I had never even heard of. My "friends" are out now.

I only dream of the simple pleasures of hugging my children, watching them grow, caring for my mother and being with my wife. I pray for my family as they struggle to get by, and ask for your help in stopping the madness of this terrible war on all of us.