One recurring theme in this blog will be my first-hand account with drug traffickers. If you leave my cell, the first of my neighbors you would meet in the 4 cells closest to mine (right or left, same or opposite side of aisle) are here for drug offenses. I like them all. I would probably like them less is they had guns and drugs, but that’s not an issue in here. Another issue that I think improves relations in here, is that on the outside, relationships are governed more by suspicion and fear of disrespect, whereas in here, there is freedom to respect.
Consequently, though the default mode is mostly whites w/ whites, blacks w/ blacks, and hispanics w/ hispanics (reinforced by the prison’s practice of mostly assigning cells with regard to race; though all units are thoroughly integrated), the social relationships (at least in my unit) are largely driven by interests, which results in a high level of integration.
For example, the sports fans, and paricularly the sports bettors, spend a lot of time together, whether white or black. Same with the work-out crowd, the Christian crowd, the card-playing crowd, etc.
That’s as good as I can describe it, since I’m not a sociologist. Let me just say that, contrary to what I’m told is the case in higher security prisons (and what TV & movies certainly portray), the race relations are a lot more integrated than anything I’ve seen on the outside, and that includes my well-integrated high school and my military experience.
One last observation before I get to today’s story.
I’m going to be telling those stories which I believe are credible. I put the reliability of my bull-shit detector up against anyone’s. I’m not giving names or readily identifiable marks on this blog, but if I ever wrote of these guys and their cases, I would thoroughly vet everything. Without question, there are many here whose story wouldn’t stand scrutiny. I think you’d be surprised though by how many guys will tell you they are guilty of what they’ve basically been charged with (though not necessarily what they’ve pled to.) To the extent you find me credible, you’ll find this reporting believable and worthy.
The Crime: Illegal sale of opioids (oxycontin)
Tommy (not his real name) was a skilled construction worker who found his most financially rewarding niche to be in sales and subcontracting. His stable of subcontractors ranged from 10-30 men over the 30 years he was in business. When he was knocked out of this business by unforeseen circumstances, one of his workers offered him a way to make some quick money. It was to travel to another state, purchase the drugs (using his own money), and return with them to sell to a dealer who would in turn sell to customers. He was, in effect, a wholesaler working on straight commission sales. In all, his 9 trips were made over 16 months, and they netted him $40,000.
It was the wife of the friend that brought Tommy into the crime, that actually began the business. When the DEA closed down the operation by arresting everyone, there were a total of 39 involved. Tommy only knew three or four. He also says that two that were arrested, and ultimately sentenced, weren’t involved at all. He never thought he was part of an organization, and that in reality, everyone was pretty much acting on their own.
The 39 consisted mostly of addicts. Virtually all of the money they made went back into their habits. The few that weren’t addicts were like Tommy; needing the money just to pay their bills and keep them from losing their houses. He learned all this about the others while in county jail with them awaiting indictment.
The DEA was alerted to the operation by the cousin of one of them, an ex-con who was picked up by local police in illegal possession of a gun. They connected him with a murder-for-hire plot and under interrogation he bartered this drug info for his freedom. When his tip panned out, he was released after only one night in jail.
To be continued…