In early November 1991, my court appointed attorney (Richard Kling) advised me, due to all the information provided by informants Cynthia Pluff and Christopher Evans, that I should take “a blind plea” between 15 -20 years. In other words, if I accepted full responsibility for the 20 kilos of cocaine and pled guilty, without cooperation, I could receive no more than 20 years and no less than 15 years in prison… I was 25 years old at the time and figured I’d still be fairly young when I came out, so I said I’d take the deal…
Mr. Kling and I met with the capital A.U.S.A. Ron safer at his office, along with DEA agent Davorak. The AUSA advised us of their office “general policy for downward to departures for cooperation.” In other words; if you can’t hold your own nuts and wanted to ruin someone else’s life because you got caught, then man do we have a deal for you…
My attorney advised Mr. Safer that we were there only for the possible “blind plea” negotiation and nothing more. Mr. Safer then stated that my alleged supplier, Omar Bulnes, was still a fugitive and when caught would be willing to offer me an 8year deal to testify against him. I REFUSED his offer! (When Omar Bulnes was finally caught Miami just a few months after our trial, during his arraignment prior to being transferred to Chicago, he was told by prosecutors that I was going to testify against him. Once he arrived in Chicago Omar Bulnes did not bother to verify the story of the prosecutor in Miami, he simply cooperated with the government and got a 10 year deal. Later he would come to realize that the only one who was willing to turn on him that went to trial in Chicago was his very own friend, Leo Villars and not Rudy Martinez… Omar Bulnes, like soooo many others before him, fell to the oldest trick in the prosecution handbook: “make them think that their friends are telling and see who tells first?” Bulnes became a “rat” just like the members of the Pluff family, Evans, Bolster, Tapa and Villars…)
Nonetheless, the AUSA continue to ask questions about matters outside the scope of the 20 kilos. My attorney (once again) explained that I was there only to admit takes all responsibility for the 20 kilos, without cooperation with the government. I then told my attorney that I no longer felt comfortable and wanted to leave immediately. This all took place on a Friday.
Three days later, I along with three other NEW codefendants were charged in a “superseding indictment,” under the new “kingpin” statute: 848 “Continuing Criminal Enterprise” or “C.C.E.” for allegedly’s selling over 150 kg of cocaine! A sentence that, if I were found guilty, carried a mandatory sentence of life without parole.
Oh, but wait, it gets better!
Just 2 months before my trial was to begin, my attorney Mr. Kling approached me about yet another offer by the AUSA office. By this time I had become so disappointed with the way Kling was handling my case. For instance 1) from the time he was appointed to represent me I had only spoken to him less than a handful of times prior to trial, 2) since he was a “law professor” at “Kent Law School” he continued to send students in his place to speak with me! and 3) I never received all the discovery material from Kling, that the prosecution was supposed to produce!
So when Mr. Kling brought the jaw-dropping news of an offer of 25 years for the CCE AND a MURDER charge, that was pending by the state, which the Feds were now willing to pick up and incorporate with the CCE so that they might ask for the DEATH PENALTY! I was like “WTF!?” The answer was easy for me, “I’m 25 years old. What is the difference if I get out when I’m 50 or if I don’t come out at all? You now want me to “cop-out” to a murder that I never committed?! FUCK YOU AND FUCK THEM, I’M GOING TO TRIAL! DO NOT BRING ANY MORE TALK ABOUT DEALS TO ME! I was pissed.
Anyway… The AUSA brings the possible new murder charge to the judge’s attention during one of our status hearings. Judge Shadur was very upset that they would try to do something like that so close to a trial date. Under the statute of 848 it is the only statute where you can get the death penalty for murder, if you killed someone to further the criminal enterprise. They decided not to bring the charges against me. It was a bluff, or was it?
It made no difference… In September 1992, I would be picked up from Leavenworth penitentiary and writ over to Chicago to face the death penalty for 1st degree murder, by the state… They were not satisfied with the fact that I just received a mandatory life sentence with the feds. They wanted their pound of flesh as well…
The murder case against me is a story in itself, but I just want to say that during a bench trial that lasted approximately a couple of hours I was found not guilty, in late 1994. The investigating officer, Guevara, coerced state witnesses to falsely inculpate me in the murder. As a result, the murder case against me was dismissed. Guevara, many years later, was subsequently placed under investigation and fired from the Chicago Police Department because he was found to have engaged in the same foregoing misconduct in other unrelated cases, which led to the overturning of those convictions and the release of those wrongly convicted individuals.
Guevera was a corrupt police officer who had a penchant for extorting drug dealers, one of which was Rodriguez and myself. The problem was that we refused to pay him… Because of this arrest, I spent almost 2 years in the basement of Cook County Jail Division I, and at one point was kept in handcuffs in shackles for 108 days! I shit you not. [See Martinez v. Fairman].
All right, back to the Fed. trial…
In January 1992, my trial finally began. I was found guilty based on Cynthia’s testimony in the amount of drug sold to her for transport [150 kilos] allegedly by her only supplier, me.
On April 23, 1992, I was sentenced to mandatory life without parole, in spite of being a first-time nonviolent offender!