Offense: Conspiracy to import heroin
Sentence: 14 years
Priors: Multiple counts of driving without a valid license and uninsured motor vehicle
Year sentenced: 2002
Age at sentencing: 27
Projected release date: Jan. 9, 2014
Eight-year-old Iveth grew up being shuttled between Puerto Rico and Chicago after her parents separated. She endured abuse at a young age and began using drugs when she was twelve to cope with the pain. Iveth had her first child in her early teens and her life spiraled out of control as the relationship with her children's father grew increasingly violent and her drug abuse and depression increased. Iveth finally broke off the relationship and resolved to stop drinking and using drugs. She met a new man who became her husband and devoted herself to caring for her children. Unfortunately, Iveth relapsed but hid her substance addiction from her family.
In August 2000, an acquaintance told 25-year-old Iveth he would pay her to travel to Mexico and bring drugs back to the United States. Iveth, desperate for money to support her six children, agreed. In October 2001, Iveth traveled to Acapulco, Mexico to pick up heroin for the man. He paid her $1,000 for the approximately 200 grams she carried. Iveth, guilty and anxious about what she had done, told him that she had made a mistake and was no longer interested in transporting drugs. The man refused and told her that the only way she could withdraw was to find other people to carry his heroin.
Faced with harassment from the man and afraid for her safety, Iveth asked her stepmother and a friend to help her. The two women agreed and carried drugs from Mexico on two occasions. Iveth did not handle the drugs carried by her stepmother and friend and was not paid for these trips. In 2001, a woman was arrested while transporting the man’s heroin and gave police Iveth’s name.
Iveth was arrested and held accountable for 700 to 1,000 grams of heroin. She received a sentence enhancement because she had recruited her stepmother and friend and asked her stepmother not to tell officers about their involvement in the offense. The judge gave Iveth the shortest time possible within the sentencing guidelines: 14 years.
Since her incarceration, Iveth has taken many steps to improve her life. She has earned her GED and has excelled in college courses and parenting classes. Iveth has completed drug rehabilitation and is waiting to be certified as an associate addiction professional. She holds a full-time job in prison and unfortunately sustained a debilitating back injury while on the job. Over nine months later, Iveth finally received major surgery to insert a rod and screws in her spine and fuse several vertebrae together.
Iveth’s six young children are currently being cared for by her mother and sister. Iveth’s sister and brother-in-law are working extremely hard to support the children financially, along with their own family. Though Iveth is many miles away from her kids, she remains very involved in their lives through phone calls and letters. She also corresponds regularly with her children’s teachers to make sure they are doing well in school.
Iveth takes full responsibility for her past decisions. Her deep religious conviction motivates her to continue living productively in prison despite the deep regret she feels about the impact her absence has had on her children.