Student or Learner
Everything began during the hot and breezy Summer of the year, 2005. I was fresh out of high school and on my way to start my adult life. Just days before my graduation, I quit my job at Carvel Ice Cream. I was only compensated $6.75 an hour there, which was minimum wage at the time in California. I had to find a way to make money. At this time, I enjoyed smoking Cannabis. Cannabis enhanced all of the activities I enjoy doing and it made me feel relaxed, both mentally and physically. I started smoking cannabis regularly in twelve grade. I hung out with the bad crowd. I didn’t care much about anything except for having fun and impressing my friends. I was young and dumb. The money I have saved up from working at Carvel was running out, so I thought to myself, why not sell marijuana? I can sell it for profit and still have some left over for me and my friends to smoke. I already know a lot of people who smoke pot so it would not be hard for me to find customers. I also have a friend who can provide me large amounts of cannabis for a dirt cheap price. It all made sense for me to start selling marijuana, at the time at least. What started out as making easy money while having fun, turned out to have serious life-changing consequences.
I thought of a master plan and bought myself a scale and unlimited supplies of clear zip-lock baggies. I started off with an ounce of marijuana, which I sold in a matter of a couple days. An ounce turned into a quarter pound, which turned into a pound. I built cliental very quickly and I was eventually selling an average of two ounce a day. School was out, I had no job but was making money the “fly way.” Life was good, real good. I was having the time of my life. I was selling to family members, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. I was able to buy whatever I want and would take friends out to eat on a regular basis. After accumulating enough funds, I was able to buy myself a 1995 Honda Civic with a motor swap and many other modifications all with the dirty drug money. I had stacks of money in my closet, mostly in crisp 20 dollar bills. The more money I had, the more paranoid I was of being robbed. I then decided to buy a gun. I bought a rusty .38 Special revolver from my dealer, which I always brought with me while making big transactions or selling to strangers. I am glad I never had to use it.
Summer was coming to an end and I started school at Miramar College. I was enrolled in twelve units and was doing good in the beginning. I eventually started ditching class to make deals, because I obviously would rather make money than listen to my professor lecture to me for one and a half hours. I was falling behind more and more in class.
One scorching hot day, a friend of a friend, named Marisa, stole her mother’s car. Her mother was in Las Vegas, NV for the weekend. Marisa let our friend, Dustin drive it. Dustin and Marisa went on to pick up my cousin, and my cousin’s girlfriend. After the four of them got together, we decided to meet up because Marisa wanted to buy some pot from me. I sold Marisa $50 worth of marijuana as Dustin challenged me to a street race. With my pride on the line, I agreed without hesitation. As we pulled out of the empty parking lot, and onto the main street, we were stuck at a red light. The street was clear. As the light turned green, both of our engines roared. I could hear the tires peeling out and the smell of burned rubber was in the air. I slammed the gas pedal to the floor, and shifted from first, to second gear. I could hear the V-Tec screaming at over 6000 RPM. We raced for about a quarter mile and I beat Dustin by three to four car lengths. I turned on the emergency lights to brag about my victory. That was when he decided to go at me one more time. I could see his vehicle speeding up quickly to me from my side view mirror. I downshifted and put the gas pedal back down to the floor. He caught me by surprised but in just a few seconds, I caught up to him and passed him. My speedometer showed that I was going 95 MPH, and we were in a 40 MPH zone. Just as I passed him, he hit a dip on the road and the vehicle started to lose control. I saw the car swerving left and right, so I kept accelerating to avoid being hit by him. The vehicle launched onto the center median, hitting some bushes and small trees and veered to the other side of the road, towards oncoming traffic. I could not believe what I was seeing. My heart was racing at an alarming rate. I made a U-turn to see if they are all right. When I arrived at the scene, everybody jumped in my car. Their vehicle was completely wrecked. My cousin was bleeding from a cut on his face, but other than that, nobody suffered any injuries. I rapidly fled the scene and I dropped everybody back home. All of us were extremely worried that night, especially Marisa.
About a week passed and I did not know what to expect. One warm afternoon, on the way home from class, there were two police officers at in my apartment talking to my mother and sister. I was immediately panicking, and knew something was wrong. One of the officers asked if I was David. I replied yes. He showed me a search warrant then proceeded to enter my bedroom. The other officer made me step outside of the house to search and question me. He told me that he and his partner were part of Drag Net. Drag Net was a police department that cracked down on street racing. He explained that they were ordered to search my apartment but I was not being arrested today. They are just gathering evidence and that the case will continue to be under investigation. He explained to me that Marisa reported that I was involved with the street racing incident and she also reported that I was selling marijuana. He asked me if I was selling or using marijuana. I denied any involvement with selling marijuana but admitted that I use smoke it. After the officer searched my room, he found my unloaded gun, a case of hollow point bullets, two scales, countless numbers of baggies, about $800, and only about 3 grams of marijuana. I had about four ounces of marijuana which I moved to my friend’s house just day before. Although I did not have much marijuana on me, they had just enough evidence to prosecute me. The officers asked if the gun was registered under my name. I replied no. They explained that it was not illegal for me to have a gun, as long as I’m registered to it. I told them that I am not registered to the gun, and that I bought it off the street. The officers explained that they will look for the original owner of the gun. After the house search, they went on to search my Honda Civic. They found nothing in there. They questioned my sister and mother and asked them if they helped me purchase the vehicle and all of the modifications. They both replied yes. After about one and a half hours of searching, and questioning me, the officers left with my gun, the case of bullets, the scales, the baggies, and the marijuana. My family all got together that night and I had some serious explaining to do. Everybody was certain I was going to be doing time in jail or in prison. They had no clue that I was using, much less alone selling marijuana. I was living a double life. An innocent college student in the day, troublesome drug dealer at night. I betrayed my family, especially my mother.
Shortly after the day the officers searched my apartment, Dustin, my friend, whom I was racing, caught a street racing charge case. My cousin was arrested at school for a fight and was sent to Camp Barrett because it was the fifth time he violated probation. My other close friend was also arrested for armed robbery and was also sent to Camp Barrett, where he saw my cousin. I wrote to them both regularly. My life, at eighteen years old, seemed over. I nervously contacted the officers to check on the status of the investigation. They continued to tell me that it is still under investigation. I dropped out of all of my college classes at the time because I was overwhelmed with the stress and legal issues.
Nearly a year passed since my apartment was searched and it seemed as though the case was dropped. I was in for a surprise. One day, as I was getting ready for class, I heard somebody ring my doorbell. I took a glimpse through the peep hole in the door and saw two strangers. As I opened the door, they asked me if David Nguy was home. I replied, “I am him.” They told me that they are from Sheriff’s Department of San Diego and showed me my arrest warrant. I was outraged because I had no idea what the arrest was about. They proceeded to handcuff me. They had no details to tell me but that they were only ordered to arrest me. They took me out of my apartment and threw me in the back of the police car. I was on my way to the central county jail in San Diego, CA. These officers were much more considerate than the ones that searched my apartment. They offered to write down my sister and parents’ phone numbers when I go to jail, so that I can call them.
I eventually arrived to the jail and was thrown into the booking cell. As I arrived in there, I saw a few other people who are waiting to be booked. The cell felt cold and musty. The smell was horrible. The bricked walls of the cell were etched with gang signs. As soon as I saw a phone, I made a collect call to my sister and explained to her that I was in jail. She thought I got in trouble with the law again, but I clarified that I have done nothing since. I asked her and my the rest of my family to bail me out. She was enraged and did not believe that I was arrested for that same incident that happened eleven months ago. After a short talk, my sister told me that she will not bail me out but will tell the rest of the family about the situation. They kept moving me from cell to cell, each more horrid and crowded than the last. I was eventually strip searched, and was ordered to put on my jail uniform. The correctional officers ordered me and the other cellmates to bend over and open up our buttocks, then pull back the foreskin of our penises. I felt dehumanized. That afternoon, each one of the cellmates were given an old, burnt pocket along with fruits and milk. I did not feel like eating and gave my meal away. After about eight hours in jail, a correctional officer pulled me out of the cell and sent me to another cell. I did not know what was going on because I was the only one that was ordered to move to a different cell. After waiting about thirty minutes in the final cell, I was given my street clothes back. I was relieved because that can only mean that I was being released. Turns out that my parents did post bail after all. My father picked me up after I was released. We did not say a word to each other the way back home. I took a hot shower immediately when I got home and went on to sleep on my queen sized bed with my fluffy pillows. It felt good to be home.
I went on to go to court about four times after my release from jail and pleaded guilty for possession of narcotics with the intent for sale. I took my plea bargain which agreed to sentence me to three years probation, serve ten days of public works, and complete a three day a week drug class for a year. There was too much evidence against me to fight the case. The lawyer fees, bail, drug classes, public works and revenue and recovery fees all added up to $6,000. Seems like I had to pay back all the money that I earned from selling marijuana.
I always seem to learn things the hard way. My mother has been suffering from depression ever since the day the police officers searched my apartment. Although she is much better now, she never fully recovered. That fact hurts me more than anything. I am now 22 years old and have changed my life around as of late. I now work at Land Rover Miramar and am going back to school, with plans to earn my Master degree of Business Administration. I am currently behind in school. Many of my friends have transferred to universities while I am playing catch-up. Playing catch-up is no fun, but I am working extra hard to make everything work. I now have my priorities straight and do not want to go back to my old ways. I am serving my final year of probation. The mistake I made taught me a lesson in life. My arrest and persecution is the biggest reality check I have went through in my life. I do not regret what I did because I know that it has molded me to be a better, humbler, and wiser man.