Wenseslada Reyes -- #18627-077

21 Years -- Heroin Conspiracy

Wenseslada Reyes, prisoner of the drug war
October 30, 1997

Dear Judge,

Its been 9 years since you sentenced me. My name is Wenseslada Reyes and I am from Dallas Texas but I currently live at FCI Tallahassee, Florida. In 1988, I was 35 years old and had three boys: Rigo, John, and Rudy ages 10, 12 and 18. Christmas is a difficult time of the year to be an absent mother. The reality of the physical separation from my children is harder to bear.

The sentencing guidelines had just came into effect when I was arrested for Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin and even though I was a first time offender, because I took the case to trial, I received a 21 year sentence. I was not the only one the government managed to punish. After my arrest they confiscated my home and everything I owned making my husband and children homeless. My husband took my children to Mexico and for a long time I did not know where they were. Christmases passed with no contact. Eventually my husband was arrested and the children were sent to live with different relatives.

The reality of this Christmas is that it has been 9 years since I have seen my boys. Five of those years I was in Marianna under maximum security. I have not been able to watch my kids grow into the young men they are today. I am 44 years old now and my sons are now 19, 21 and 27 years of age. I have no pictures of myself with them as there have been no visits. I talk to them on the phone when there is money, but money is short, very short.

There will be no Christmas presents for my children. I really don't even know if I know my kids or if they will know me after another 12 years. This is hard for me to write because I have to ask myself this question:

Am I really still their mother after all? After all these years have elapsed - am I a mother just in name only . . . or am I just the number the government gave me when they separated me from my boys?

Sincerely, Wenseslada Reyes