Mario Santana -- #238893

Life in Prison -- Cocaine Conspiracy

Mario Santana, prisoner of the drug war
On August 4, 1994 I had a trial before a judge and was found guilty of 'possession with intent to deliver over 650 grams of cocaine.' I was sentenced to life without parole.

My case began on January 24, 1994 when I was asked by a friend to take him to a McDonald's restaurant. He said he had to take something to a friend, and he was paying me to give him a ride. I had no knowledge of what he had in the package and what he was going to do. When he noticed that we were being followed, he jumped out of the car and ran. I was arrested.

I am Hispanic and was not fluent in English. One of the arresting officers was my interpreter and wrote the statements that I signed. I was the only one charged even though the package was not mine, did not have my fingerprints and was found outside the vehicle.

I miss my daughters, and I regret my decision to give that friend a ride. I am paying with the rest of my life for my mistake. I can't be part of my daughters' life; I won't be there for their graduations, for their fifteenth birthday or for any special event in their lives. What hurts the most is that I'm paying for something that was not mine.

All there is for me are these walls and my faith in God. I also have my fiancé who is standing by my side one hundred percent and is willing to be my wife even though she doesn't know if we will ever have the opportunity to be together.

Thank you for caring and keeping my hopes high and alive.