Susana Cruz -- 14352-112

14 Years -- Cocaine Conspiracy

Susana Cruz, prisoner of the drug war
Conspiracy in relation to cocaine trafficking; Distribution and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute; Maintaining places for drug distribution; Interstate travel in aid of drug trafficking

My name is Susana Cruz. I am 52 years old with four children and two grandchildren. I have lived in the United States for the past twenty-one years and have worked honorably, paying and filing my taxes year after year. Today I am serving a 14-year prison sentence at FCI Dublin, California.

My story begins with Juan Valdez O Indalicino Marin. I met him at a party in early September of 1997. We became friends, then began an intimate relationship which led to me being unjustly accused of involvement in a drug business.

On an early morning in October 1998, the FBI came to my apartment with an arrest warrant. The FBI told me that they wanted to conduct an interview with me; I was not under arrest, and when the interview was over, I would be able to return to my residence.

They searched my apartment and found nothing illegal, then took me to what I assumed was an interrogation center in Los Angeles. The next thing I knew I was being transported to the state of Alaska where I was charged with a drug conspiracy.

I have never traveled to any place or state to commit any crime. I never witnessed any illegal activities of which my boyfriend was accused. We never lived together. He visited the apartment, and occasionally spent the night with me, but we did not share a home.

I went to trial thinking the government of the United States was fair and just. Instead of justice, the government created lies, and accused me of a drug conspiracy without having any evidence. They used informants to speak against me to save themselves from their crimes with reduced sentences, which they all took advantage of and received.

I gave my court appointed attorney substantial proof of my whereabouts on the days the drug activity was supposed to have happened. I have my employer's statements showing that I was at work, and could not possibly be in two places at once. Although my attorney had this information and other information, he never presented it at trial or during my sentencing. He failed to submit crucial information to my case and did not defend me.

In the judgement the district attorney stated that he believed informants over me. My attorney told me that the district attorney was a very nice man, and if I cooperated with him and gave him the information needed to convict my boyfriend, things would go well for me.

Susana Cruz with her family
I asked him what kind of information they needed or wanted. A few days passed, and the district attorney sent another message through my attorney; this time he said that all charges against me would be dropped, and he would send me to a halfway house if I pled guilty.

I did not plead guilty because I am innocent and believed in the American way, in American justice.

Now, with help from God, I have been able to withstand this horrible experience. What has kept me from going crazy is thinking of the pain and suffering my family and children are going through, and how it has affected them. I do not want to make matters worse for them, and so I endure this time.

The injustice of the government corruption destroys many other families besides my own. Innocent people who have never been in trouble with the law are serving outrageous sentences.

Due to my unfortunate destiny of becoming involved with a charming man, my whole life has changed. This whole situation has destroyed my life, the lives of my children and relatives. My youngest grandchild was born since I have been incarcerated, and I don't even know her. I have not yet been able to see her. My whole desire is to keep myself together until I am able to reunite with my family. The prison where I am held is so far from my family that they cannot visit regularly. Someday I would like to be able to see my grandchildren grow up.