The next day, I was removed from the cell in Alexandria. A Military Police (MP) escort had been sent to pick me up and take me back to Fort Polk. I was back in Army custody.
I remember saying “Man, am I glad to see you guys!” Not too sure that the feeling was mutual but I was so ready to get the heck out of that disgusting cell.
I was handcuffed and put into the backseat of a car. They must have let Eddie go back to Post on his own because he was not in the car. It took about an hour to get back to Leesville.
Once we got to Ft. Polk, I was taken to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) to talk to Special Agent Thundercloud.
We had another conversation about me helping him out. About six month prior, we had this same conversation but, I had no intention of ever helping him.
This time it was a different story. I agreed.
In turn, if I was productive for him, he would do everything in his power to reduce the amount of time I would have to spend in prison.
I was allowed to cut and color my hair back to normal because if I didn’t they were going to shave it off when they locked me up. That would have looked suspicious when working with the Drug Suppression Team.
Thundercloud said he would be in touch with me when it was time to work together. Not sure why, but there was trust building between us. He really seemed to care about me and what happened to me. Maybe I was being used but it didn’t seem like it.
The MP’s took me to the Installation Detention Facility (IDF) which was like the Post Jail. Things got a little weird.
I had been gone for about 6 months and had been out of touch with military formalities.
Upon arriving, forgetting to stand at attention and recite the proper reporting procedure seemed to be the trigger to trip. I had forgotten to act like a soldier and was immediately reminded by the Sergeant in charge that I had better find my military bearing.
Even though I was an Inmate, I was still going to follow military protocol.
I was told to stand at attention as they in-processed me. They asked me a bunch of questions about why I was there and what I had been doing.
I began to feel like they were messing with me because they were either angry at the world, disgusted by me or were just plain bored.
The verbal barrage and insults kicked up my frustration and so I began to get shorter and cocky with my answers. I figured, I was going to prison so what more could these guys do.
The Sergeant in charge got up in my face and I felt like I was back in Basic Training again. The last question set the tone for the rest of the entire day. “Inmate, when was the last time you thought about suicide?”
I replied “Probably last night, when I got arrested, SIR!” (Sergeants hate to be called Sir.)
He told the guard that would be taking me to my cell, “24 hour suicide watch!”
It was at this time I was instructed to remove ALL my clothing. I was taken to an iron bar cage and the guard came in and removed the blankets, sheets and anything that I could potentially harm myself with.
He stepped out, shut the door behind him and locked me in.
Another night in jail, only this time, I laid on the mattress completely naked.
Every hour, one of the guards would walk by the cell and check on me.
Since I had been using drugs almost every day up to this point and it had been over 24 hours since my last use, my body started to go through some changes.
I shivered quite a bit and I felt like I was going to die. Not because of pain but, the depression that sets in when you come down from drugs is intense. When you start slipping down, you begin to panic. Knowing that I would never have drugs again made me feel crazy and helpless all at the same time.
I needed a fix, but it wasn’t coming. Rage, frustration and anxiety came over me. It felt like a balloon was trying to pop inside my chest. It wasn’t fun or easy, but I made it through the night.
The next morning I was given pancakes to eat with no utensils. Very messy, but this food was good. Not like the stuff they gave me to eat in the civilian jail.
I was still naked and the guard must have been tired of checking up on me because he said “Are you gonna kill yourself or what?” My reply of “No” must have been enough because he brought me a uniform.
Both times I was arrested by CID, I waived my rights to talk to a lawyer before making statements. Not sure it was a good idea, but at this point I was not known for making smart decisions.
A couple days later a lawyer was assigned to me and I was formally charged with the crimes that I would be Court-Martialed for.
Desertion, Possession of MDMA, Distribution of MDMA and Distribution of LSD.
Captain Castillo told me that the maximum sentencing for the crimes I committed was a total of 38 years.
He also said that he had tried a few other cases like mine and no one ever was sentenced fully to the maximum.
However, because of the volume of drugs I was responsible for selling, he was very concerned that I would be most likely to receive an 8 year sentence.
This scared the crap out of me! 8 years!
There was an option for a pre-trial agreement. I plead guilty to all the charges and was willing to assist the government with testimonies against other soldiers that were either dealing or using drugs.
He would get me a maximum of 6 years, no matter what the Judge decided.
I already told SA Thundercloud that I would work with him. I had signed sworn statements detailing my criminal activities without a lawyer present. It was a no-brainer.