By Cheri Sicard
Marijuana users are frequently given the advice to never chat or “cooperate” with law enforcement, and there’s no better example of why not than Crystal Munoz, currently in her 7th year of incarceration on a 19 year, 10 month sentence.
Her nightmare began when DEA agents visited Munoz’s home. They assured the young mother of an infant daughter, who happened to be pregnant with her third child at the time, that she was not in any kind of trouble. The agents claimed they merely needed to speak with Crystal to get a few questions answered and details cleared up about an incident that had taken place 3 years earlier.
The activities in question involved a map that Crystal had drawn showing how to circumvent a drug checkpoint. She herself was never caught with any drugs. Her indictment and prosecution was based entirely on the testimony of the people who were actually caught trafficking the drugs 3 years earlier.
The government offered no plea deal. Crystal plead not guilty and took her case to trial.
Because she had drawn the map, prosecutors painted Crystal as a leader in the conspiracy to distribute 1000 kilos or more of marijuana, a factor that played into her long sentence, along with two prior misdemeanors for possession on her record. Her original indictment included charges for cocaine, which prosecutors dropped the day of trial, as they had no proof of the allegation.
While the people who were actually doing the dealing received between 5 to 7 years each, Munoz, who only drew a map, received a sentence of 19 years and 10 months.
Even before incarceration Crystal had experienced great tragedy in her life. Her first child, a son, tragically choked to death while at school at the age of five.
Locking away the young wife and mother for the greater part of two decades has only added to the stress and hardship the entire family has endured. Crystal’s second daughter was born in prison. Her husband and mother struggle every day to keep the family going and care for the two young girls.
Nonetheless, Crystal Munoz has used her time behind bars to better herself, completing a yearlong Change program, an 18-month long Life Connection program, a 40- hour residential drug abuse program, and completed a course to become a personal fitness trainer. She has even worked as a hospice volunteer.
Crystal is grateful that so many of her family members have stepped up to help care for her children, but is always aware of the burden her incarceration has placed on them and she longs to be able to take an active role in her children’s lives as well as care for her aging parents and grandparents.
Crystal’s biggest hope is for executive clemency, as a Presidential pardon would allow her to return to her family and once again become a wife and mother, before her children are already grown.
How you can help:
Email President Obama and ask him to grant clemency to Crystal Munoz, federal inmate #79319-180.
Email your senators (www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm)
and Congressional representatives (www.house.gov/representatives/find/)
and ask them to urge the President to grant clemency for Crystal Munoz, federal inmate #79319-180.
Write to Crystal: Crystal loves getting cards and letters from supporters.
Crystal Munoz #79319-180
PO BOX 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
Want to help more?
Here’s how to put money directly onto a prisoner’s books — no middle man, ALL of the money goes DIRECTLY to the prisoner – to be used for phone calls, email, legal expenses, food, personal hygiene items, etc.:
1. Send a postal money order (yes it must be a POSTAL money order or the Bureau of Prisons will not accept it) to:
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Inmate Name, Inmate Register Number
(in this case Crystal Munoz #79319-180)
Post Office Box 474701
Des Moines, Iowa 50947-0001
Or go to Western Union and find the link on the bottom of the page “send money to an inmate.” (www.westernunion.com)
Editor’s note: Cheri Sicard is a dedicated cannabis activist, the author of Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women (Seal Press, release date 4-20-15) and The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook (2012 Z-Dog Media). She is vice president of the CAN-DO Foundation (www.candoclemency.com). Her blog is www.CannabisCheri.com.