My name is Miguel Perez, Jr. I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1978. And moved to Chicago, Illinois, around 1986. And I lived in Chicago for over 30 years. I always thought that I was going to end up in the military. It was a sense of patriotism, I guess. I deployed to Afghanistan. The second deployment after I came back, it was a little bit different. Everything seemed lame when I came back, there was not that adrenaline rush. I wanted to feel like, alive. It was just, felt like, just days. But then at night, this sweats, shakes, nightmares. I started feeling a lot of anxiety.
Now I realize that those were the symptoms of PTSD, the anxiety, the nightmares, the shakes, just the sense of persecution, like somebody’s coming to get you. And in order to cope with all that, I was drinking heavily, and using powder cocaine at the same time. The reason that I started using on a daily basis was because of a childhood friend. But him being a drug dealer, that was just his way of showing love, and access, free access to cocaine, not only that, but just everything that I was going through.
I was arrested on November 26, 2008. My friend received the call to go make a drop. So I went with him. He’s like, do you want to take it across the street? I say, yeah, you know what, let’s go. It gives it to me. And I go in, I see the guy I’ve never met and knock on the window. And when he opened the door, that’s when all the officers rushed in. It just spun out of control. And I was charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, cocaine. I was supposed to leave the penitentiary September 23, 2016. But instead, ICE was there at the door. Picked me up and then took me to a detention center.
Since I’ve been in Tijuana I’ve run out of medication twice. And the VA provides it in the United States, but since I’m in Mexico, they can’t ship it, they can’t do anything. I had two major episodes. It was just horrible. Yes, I committed a crime. Yes, I pled guilty. But yes, I served my time. So I should go back home, where my father, my mother, my nieces, my son, daughter. My whole community is in Chicago. That’s where I belong.
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