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tv   Locked Up Abroad  MSNBC  April 26, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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we were going down to mexico and we were buying steroids with counterfeit money. we were going over the border and we had all the stuff packed in the spare tire. i was thinking to myself, don't start acting weird. be calm. i was not about to get caught there. not in mexico.
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this wasn't part of the plan. i grew up in turlock, california. i was raised by my dad, my stepmom. and i had a pretty good upbringing. when i was 15, i quit going to high school. and i started working for my dad full time. my dad was a very hard worker. and he rubbed off on me. >> good job. >> when i was 20 years old, my girlfriend moved in. and we had a child. everything was great.
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but things got messed up between us. and we went our separate ways. it crushed me. i was kind of heart broken. i saw my daughter whenever i could. at the time, i was trying to remove what had happened in my head. and i really got into lifting weights. it was pretty much the only thing i could take my aggressions out on. >> six, come on, two more, dude. two more. >> we worked out six days a week. >> one more. come on, buddy. one more. >> that took my mind off a lot of things. it kept my mind busy. a friend of mine from high school. i hadn't seen this guy for a while. >> hey man. >> hey, how doing. >> good to see you. >> he was kind of big. >> you are really built.
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>> and i was wondering what's going on here. and so i got to talking with him. and he was like, yeah, you know, i do steroids and stuff like that. i was actually kind of surprised when i heard all of that. i was like, really? how does that work? i was kind of interested in wanting to know more about it. >> i could hook you up. >> i go, well let me think about it. the whole point of us lifting weights and stuff was to get bigger, to feel better about ourselves, to look better for women. i told him, hey, that would be great. they came in a bottle. a 20 milliliter bottle. liquid. little rubber top. you just poke the needle through, and you pull some out into the syringe. and that's how you use it.
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we would inject ourselves in our hip. sometimes we would inject in our arms. it was just a fast way to get really big. a few weeks after i had actually bought some steroids, i had asked him, so, where do you get this from? >> well, we get it from mexico. we get it from the pharmacies there. >> hide them in a spare tire, and we drive back over the border. takes us 22 hours round trip. yeah, we're going to go down there in a couple weeks. we're going to go get some stuff and we're going to bring it back.
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>> if you want, i think we have room for another person. >> it sounded fun to me. it sounds like something that would also take my mind off of things. i was like, yeah, i'll come with you guys. sure. it sounds like fun. >> cool. >> the only problem, i was a little tight for money. hey, jay. my work had slowed down a little bit hey, how are you doing, man. >> hey, dude, it's good to see you. >> one of the guys came over to my house and said, i want to show you something. he pulled out this $5 bill. i started looking at it, and -- and -- >> and he was like, i made this last night. dude, that's not a real $5 bill? no. it's a counterfit. i almost thought it was brilliant for some reason. i kind of laughed. i thought it was funny. >> come on in.
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>> he showed me a big rolfe old cash register paper. you mark the stuff with a counterfeit pen and it turns real. i'm thinking to myself, it's amazing. it's so real. we had set everything up in my kitchen. it just happened real fast. we threw in some $100 bills into the scanner. you run a piece of paper through the printer, turn the paper around, print out the backside of it. >> dude, this is great. >> i know. >> so that way, when we taped the paper over the template, we knew exactly where it was going to print out at. what gave it that feeling of an actual bill was the hair spray. spray it over the bill, and we would throw it inside the dryer with some socks bundled up and let it run through there. you know, roughen them up a little bit and make them not so perfect. they felt and they looked so real. i kind of felt like a little
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charge come out of it. i was thinking to myself, man, this is kind of genius, you know? the only way of telling the difference between those bills -- if you held them up in the air and you looked for a hologram or that bar that runs through that bill. going down to mexico, and i'm like, well, how do they know? i'm not going to have any problem. and next thing you know, we all jumped into the car and headed down to mexico. i had taken about $1,500 of the counterfeit money. i was going with a group of guys. and they have been doing it for years. i had been to nevada, and that was about it. so my first time actually going out of the states. i never thought about getting caught. i never thought about any of the consequences of what i was doing. i was going on a ride.
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we drove into tijuana. it was about like 9:00, 10:00 in the morning. down in mexico, you can buy whatever you want. the pharmacy that we went to, it just had a -- kind of a sterile type of smell to it. both of the girls that worked there, they were in their 20s. they all seemed to be professional. [ speaking spanish ] >> i was like, hey, we want to get some stuff here. can you get us 350 bottles? so the lady was like, yeah, we can get that for you. she said i'll be right back. and she walked out of the pharmacy. five, ten minutes later she came walking back in there and she had two buckets. two five-gallon buckets.
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she was like oh, you know, here we go. it's all there. [ speaking spanish ] >> well, how much, you know, per bottle? and she was like $20 a bottle. >> it's going to be $7,000. >> and so everyone had pulled out money, gave it to her. i paid with the fake ones. she was sitting there counting it, and i was saying to myself, huh. i was a little bit nervous. she goes, okay, well thank you.
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and she put the money in the cash register. and i was like oh, wow, i got away with it. i was like, oh, my god, i can't believe this. i kind of got a little high off of it. everyone was like, wow, you know, that's a trip. i just spent a bunch of counterfeit money in there. and we walked out. can you believe that? i did think to myself, you know what? that was too easy. we went and got some foil and some masking tape. we were packing up all of our stuff, wrapping it all up, wrapping masking tape on it and then marking our names on it. there was a lot of stuff in the car. i knew it was illegal, so i was a little bit nervous about how much we were bringing back. i kind of thought to myself, man, is all this stuff going to
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fit inside that spare tire? and i turned around, and there was a cop there on a motorcycle. i was in disbelief. i was like, is this really happening? i was starting to break a sweat. he was pulling up, and i kind of looked back into the car. and i was like, hey, guys, there's a cop behind us. there's a cop pulling up right now. so everyone stopped what they were doing and put themselves over what they were wrapping up. they pushed them out of the way a little bit. and he got off his motorcycle.
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and he came walking up to the vehicle. and looked in a little bit. i was thinking to myself, oh, man, don't get nervous here. don't start acting weird or shake or anything like that. be calm. i was not going to get caught like this.
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there goes my satellite signal. get xfinity. it's perfect for rainy days. you can just pull up your shows, curl up in a duvet, maybe even draw up a bath and see where the night takes you. that sounds real nice. i took a deep breath, and i was like, okay, how am i going to get rid of this guy? i had a carton of cigarettes laying right there in the front seat.
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i grabbed the carton of cigarettes and i say, hey, do you want a carton of cigarettes? he kind of looked at me kind of funny. and i said, here, you know, take it. the guy that spoke spanish had walked around the car. ] speaking spanish ] >> he had said to him, you know, in spanish, he wants to know if you want a carton of cigarettes. he goes, tell him i don't smoke. he just turned around and got back on his bike, and he left. the guys were like, wow, i can't believe that we actually got away with that. they were like, well, good job. i just couldn't believe that everything was working out how it was supposed to work out.
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we headed down to the tire shop. they unscrew the tire, let all the air out. and they took the tire off the rim. we started packing everything inside the tire. they put the tire back on the rim, and they put air in it. we paid them $50, and we were on our way. there is -- there's so many cars that line up there at the tijuana border. we are sitting in our car, and there is some guy selling a blanket, and another guy is trying to sell you a hat or something. no, gracias, no. that was my first time, so i didn't really know what happens when you cross over. a couple of the guys in the car,
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they were like, we're all pretty noticeable guys. so a couple of us are going to get out of the car, and we're going to walk over the border. no one told me that anyone was going to jump out of the car and walk across the border. i was kind of like, why do i have to stay in the car? i thought maybe they are like oh, he doesn't get nervous, he's good, he stays calm, that's why i was chosen to drive over the border. >> just be cool man. don't worry. >> we finally pulled up to the border. and we just pull up. guy comes walking out. he kind of looked in the back
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seat through the window, looked to see who was in the vehicle. i was a little nervous inside about the whole situation. i was like, stay calm, and don't worry about it. he's like -- >> did you bring anything back? >> and the guy who was driving, he was like oh, we are just bringing back a real bad hangover, you know? that's about it. he started laughing. he's like, yes, that's what happens when you come down here into mexico. he just said okay, guys, go on over. see you later. as soon as we crossed that line, everything felt normal. we were all excited.
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we were all ecstatic. we were high fiving each other. i just thought to myself, we got away with it. we did what we had to do. we're here in the united states. and we're free. ♪ working out and seeing yourself get bigger and bigger and bigger -- it was a high. it made me feel good. it got to be addictive. i wanted to do more. the second time that i went down there, i had printed about $3,000. and everything just happened the same. we drove down there. i walked in the pharmacy. we spent the money.
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got everything we needed. and we came back. it was pretty simple. some other medications that we were buying down there was synthetic morphine. hey, how are you doing? people were using it to relieve the pain from tearing of muscles when you were working out. they would pay a lot of money for it. and well, if you have the money, then, sure, i'll sell it to you. i was just trying to make myself happy. cheers. >> i met this girl, stephanie. she was a nice girl. she was real fun to be around. we had a good time. i was trying to make the best out of my life. i thought i was doing a good job.
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everything that i had, all the morphine and stuff, was all gone. so i needed to go get more. the guys that i normally went with, no one really needed to go down there. so i was trying to figure out who was going to translate for me. because i didn't know how to speak spanish. jose. come here a minute. hey, man, what's up? how are you doing, man? >> i'm fine. and you? >> good to see you, man. >> so what's up? >> he came over to my house one day. and i was like how would you like to go down to mexico with me? >> tj? >> and maybe you could translate for me. >> is this counter fit money? >> yeah. >> and he goes, well, have you done this before? and i go, yeah, i've been down there a few times. oh, yeah, it's fine. he's like, are you sure this is going to work? and i go, yeah, it's fine.
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i promise. he goes, all right. he goes, let's go then. i told stephanie, i go, hey, do you want to go. >> to mexico? >> yeah, why not. >> it looks good when you cross over the border -- three is less suspicious. makes it look not so conspicuous. >> okay. >> because i got away with it two times before this, i got a little greedy. i decided that i was going to buy as much stuff as i could. printing out all the money took me about a day and a half. time consuming. i ended up printing out about $11,000. at about 6:00 in the morning we all jumped in the truck.
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>> i know how to say hola. [ speaking spanish ] >> on the way down in mexico, i pulled out all that money and i was going through every single one of the bills. whatever bills did not look perfect, i put them behind the passenger seat of the car. and i totally forgot about it. about eight hours later, we got into mexico. are we there yet? we pulled into tijuana. and we found a pharmacy. and we parked so our vehicle was not right out in front of the pharmacy. she asked us you know, how we were all doing.
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jose was like, oh, you know, we're doing good. she was like, is there anything i can get you. he was' like, i need to get some of this synthetic morphine, and some of these pills. >> all good? >> all good. >> she went, and she got all the stuff. >> that's the stuff. [ speaking spanish ] >> she said it was going to be 360 american dollars. so i pulled out a whole wad of money. and i had handed her four $100 bills. she put the money in the cash register, and then she didn't have any change. so she pulled out a $100 and she walked to the back of the store and told one of the other girls that worked there, hey, i need to go to the bank and change one of these $100s for some change. i felt like my whole stomach just got twisted, like someone just grabbed it and was just
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like squeezing on it. what happens if she were to come back here with the cops? i was like oh, man. this does not look good. we need to leave. we've got to get out of here. i was not about to get caught there. not in mexico. you used to sleep like a champ.
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we started running. going the opposite way of our car. we ended up walking around the whole entire building. we looked down, and there was a bunch of cops out in front of the pharmacy. i just felt like oh, my god, thank god we weren't there. i don't want them to start looking around for us. i need to get out of here fast. i have to get out of here.
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i knew that i had a problem. you have got cop cars out in front of a pharmacy and we're going to have to go back and get the car. this wasn't part of the plan. chances, so we ran a taxi down. we didn't want to take any chances, so we ran a taxi down. all three of us got in the # back of the taxi, and we told him, hey, just drive. we kind of told the driver to drive back by the pharmacy. we got onto the road where the pharmacy was, and sure enough, there was cops standing out in front of the pharmacy. i told jose, i was like, what we're going to do is, one of us are going to get out of the taxi and jump into the car that we drove in. i'll go. >> okay. >> we pulled up by the pharmacy, a little bit past it, where our car was.
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jose jumped out of the taxi, ran and jumped into the car, and he yelled at the taxi cab driver, follow me. he pulls over. we get out of the taxi. and we jump inside the rental car. okay. drive. that was a close call. how much more closer do you want to get? you know what i mean? i'm like, we need to go to a different town. we need to get away from tijuana. so we drove down to ensenada. we walked down the boulevard. and we went into a pharmacy, and
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we bought like $200, $300 worth of stuff. no problem. the guy didn't even ask a question. he took the money, counted it, gave us back change. we walked out of there. we walked down a little bit further, and we walked into another pharmacy. and we went and did the same thing. it seemed to be really easy. it was like there was no heat on us anymore. we spent about $8,000. we got everything that we needed. it felt good. wow! we stayed at a hotel. went out to dinner. went and danced, and partied. ♪ you know, we were just having a good time. it made me feel a lot better,
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because everything kind of worked out how i said it was going to work out. but, still, we had yet to actually drive across the border. we did it. we weren't done yet.
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i'm richard liu with your hour's top stories amount of u.s. military plane is on its way to nepal carrying 70 people including a search-and-rescue team as well as 45 tons of cargo. at least 2500 people were killed in the earthquake. two bodies have been found and five people are still missing after a powerful storm capsized several sail boats participating in a regatta in the waters off of alabama. the intense storm hit on saturday. now back to "locked up abroad."
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that next day, we got up. it was pretty late. i go, hey, guys, it's like 3:00 in the afternoon, we've got to go. get up. everyone was like, oh, man, you know. >> we need to go. we needed to get a little bit of money, just enough to eat, put some gas in the car, get home. we'll go to a couple of stores and i'll get change for a $100. okay, let's do it. we pulled up to this little mini mart. i told jose just stay here in the car and i'll be right back. so i remember i walked into this store. it was a real small store. there was a little boy standing behind the counter. >> hola. >> hey. he was probably about 13 years old or so.
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and he just kind of said, hi. i grabbed a couple of quarts of oil. and i walked up to the counter and i asked him, can i have a couple cartons of cigarettes. dos. >> i'll get. >> and the little boy was like, sure. and so he put it on the counter and he rang it up. i just handed him a $100 bill. and he walked kind of through the back of the store. and i was like, huh. he wasn't looking at it weird or anything. this guy kind of walked out, kind of looked like he had just woken up. he looked at the $100 bill. he pulled out some money. and he gave me like 700 pesos. >> okay. okay. >> great. thanks.
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i grabbed everything, and i was like, cool, you know, i'm out of here. i went walking over to the car. and i got in. >> everything cool? >> oh, yeah, everything's fine. >> jose is looking at me. he's like, hey, you need to look behind you. i turned around in the car, and that guy from the store is standing outside with a $100 bill, holding it up in the air, and he's like turning it around and stuff. and i'm like -- okay we've got to get out of here. i go, let's go. so jose took off. and the next thing you know, right out of a side road, this truck, this white old truck, comes pulling out. the guy from the store. and he had a couple friends with him. and they had a big 12-gauge gun on them.
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they were yelling at us. and they were screaming, hey, pull over! i was looking back. close? >> yeah. >> real close. >> jose was looking at his rearview mirror. we were like, oh, my gosh, what are we going to do? i can't believe this is happening. go, go, go. go! all of a sudden, i just turned around, and i'm like looking behind us and i don't see those guys anymore. i'm like, you know what? i think we got away with it. i don't see anyone behind us. do you? and he's like no, no, i don't see anything. i'm like, well, maybe we're okay. you know, i go, let's just hurry up and get back to the hotel room. as we were driving down the road, all of a sudden we were coming out to a road that was all blocked off. and there was a couple of small
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cop cars that were parked out in front of the road. we were both looking. we're like oh, my god, is that a roadblock there? or is that an accident or what? i see cops and everything else. jose is like, just be cool. let me talk. it just felt like oh, my god, is this really happening? and these cops run over, and they open up the car. and they tell to us get out. so we get out of the car. [ speaking spanish ]. >> they were asking us what we were doing. and someone called and said that we had passed some kind of fake money or something. i'm like, hey, tell them it's not us. we didn't do anything. jose was pretty calm. any time they asked him something in spanish, he answered them. he was actually a really good accomplice.
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the next thing you know, the owner from the store is pulling up and pointing his finger at me, saying, that was him. that's the guy. that's him. here's the money that he gave me. everything in my body kind of went numb. and i felt as if i didn't know how to move. [ speaking spanish ] >> the whole attitude of the police changed. it was kind of a night and day thing. the cops just threw me up against the car, handcuffed us. i'm sitting there thinking to myself oh, this is not happening. it seemed so surreal. they took us both back to the police station.
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i knew that we were in trouble. i remember jose telling me, just don't say anything. don't say yes or no. don't tell them anything. he opened up all the doors and they started tearing through our car. they were tearing up the carpet. they were looking underneath the seats. pulling out the panels of the car. it was crazy. i kept on thinking to myself, there is nothing in there, what are they going to find? what are they going to find in there? and the next thing you know, i see one of the cops come out of the back of the car saying look what i found. and he had a stack of $100 bills in his hand. it was the bills that were messed up. [ speaking spanish ] >> they start questioning us,
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saying, where are you guys staying at? >> thank god they don't know where we're staying at, because then they are going to find everything that we have. i told them we just got here. we just drove down here today. the next thing you know, they pulled out the little parking pass that was sitting on the front of the car in between the dash and the wind shield. oh, look what we found. we know where you guys are staying. you are staying at the hotel corona. i didn't know what to tell him. he goes, you, white boy, you're coming with us. and they threw me in a pickup. it's starting to settle in a little bit about what was going on. i should have never came down here. i was thinking, i got to get out of this mess. little did i know, there wasn't going to be a way out.
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don't tell them anything. >> they pushed me into the room. they told me to get down on my knees. they started going through the hotel room. they were lifting up the beds. they kept on saying, whereas -- where's your drugs at gringo, where are they at? and i was like, i don't have any drugs. and they weren't finding anything. last place that they looked was the bags that we had on the ground. they grabbed the bags, opened it up, and they saw all this foil and everything. right then, i knew that it was over.
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they threw me back inside the truck. and they drove me and stephanie to court. a few days later, i found out that they let her go. but me and jose were in trouble. jose and i were sitting there waiting for the judge. i got to talk to my dad. i was so happy to see him. we just sat there and talked, and cried. it was pretty sad. it was a horrible feeling. i just said, i'm sorry that i've caused this problem. and i'm really sorry to put you guys through this. i know i should have listened to you. i hope you can forgive me. he just said, don't worry. >> this will all work out. >> we're going to get you out of here no matter what.
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>> i love you, son. >> they threw us in a car, and they took us to the prison. that prison seemed like the worst place i'd ever been. it was hell. it was actually hell. all the stories about the mexican prisons, they're very true. i was afraid for my life. they told us to go in this room. there was a group of like four guys sitting on the ground. and they were all shooting up.
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they didn't have any shirts on. they looked like they hadn't showered for weeks. i was freaked out. this guy kind of poked his head out around the corner and he said, hey, you two. come here. there was a few people in a room all by themselves. one of the guys pulled out like a little mirror. and he had a couple lines on him. he asked us, do you guys want a line? i was too scared to go to sleep. thinking that maybe they would come over and stab me in the middle of the night where i was sleeping. so i did a line. and that was the first time that i had ever done any hard core type of a drug. it was methamphetamine. i liked it.
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and i ended up staying up all night. it went by really fast. doing the drugs made everything worse than what it had to be. it was the worst decision i could have made. but making life changes is hard, because you have a life. now capella university offers a revolutionary new way to earn a degree. it's called flexpath and it's the most direct path, leveraging what you've learned on the job and focusing on what you need to know. so you can get a degree at your pace and graduate at the speed of you. flexpath from capella university. discover the path to your potential. at capella.edu.
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as time went on, i didn't actually really need the meth. i needed the heroin, though. i was an addict just like everyone else there. i usually had some drugs with me. this guy came running up to me, and he started pointing in my face. he goes, i'm sick, and i want some drugs. you're going to give them to me. i started walking away from him. and the next thing you know, i see him out of the corner of my eye coming running up to me with a knife.
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i was like, did i just get stabbed here? i have to fight this guy. he had a knife. i started punching him in the face. as i was punching him in the face, he was trying to stab me. it felt like i had no more power in me. i had to get it back together and hit him again. i was just giving it everything i had. i was hitting him as hard as i could in order to get that knife that he had away from me. i was fighting for my life. he was trying to kill me.
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the very last punch, i hit him as hard as i could. and he fell on the ground. knife went flying out of his hand. i kind of knocked him out. a couple guys came out and grabbed me. they are like, hey, you are bleeding all over the place. come in here and lay down. this guys wrapped me up with some rags and t-shirts and stuff. a couple of the guys were looking at me, and they were like, you're going to be okay. all the inmates were like, don't go down there to the clinic, and don't go telling on anyone. [ speaking spanish ] >> i needed some stitches, but you know, if i would have gone down there, then i would have been a snitch. i was so tired. eventually, the bleeding slowed down. i felt like it was the lowest point of my whole time being in there.
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i didn't know what to do. it was just a big mess. i'm a white guy in a mexican prison. the whole time, it was a fight just to stay alive. i saw so many people die in there. i've witnessed three, four separate occasions people being stabbed to death. people actually dying in there. and it's not a thing that you ever really want to see. they told me i was leaving. and to grab anything that i had or i wanted to take with me. and i said i don't have anything i want to take. just get me out of here.
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and they handcuffed me. they threw me in the back of a pickup. you know, i never thought that i would actually end up back, you know, in the united states again. it had been so long. i was so happy to be back. what i did was my fault. there's no one else to blame for it. it was pure stupidity. if i could do it all over again, none of it would have happened. being an addict is being in a prison of your own. because of my poor decisions, i went through what i went through. but i came out a better person. i've learned a lot.
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and it's made me who i am. i cannot believe i'm really almost in colombia. i'm only 18. i wasn't even thinking about, you're going to smoke a drug. i'm going to literally have it in my bra and in my underwear. >> get me out of here! >> i realized i was set up.

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