Sentence: 19 Years, 10 Months
Offense: Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute Marijuana
Priors: First Offense
Time Served: 10 Years
Left Behind: Husband, 2 Daughters
Being sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana wasn’t the biggest tragedy Crystal Munoz had experienced in her life. Having lost her 5 year old son to a choking accident, Munoz desperately wanted to grow her family, eventually having two daughters. But she would have never imagined being sent to prison while still pregnant with her second daughter.
She was charged and convicted on the marijuana trafficking conspiracy charges, which she insists was based only on the word of acquaintances who had been convicted for the same charges and were looking to reduce their sentences. Never found to be in possession of drugs, Munoz went to trial not knowing anything about the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines that would devastate her family.
“You lose everything, you are stripped of everything. You are just a number here,” Munoz said in the visiting room of Carswell Federal Prison. Scheduled to be released in late 2021, Munoz is still desperate to be released well before then as each day is crucial to playing a role in raising her now 10 year old daughter. “What I have experienced can be described as cruel and unusual punishment,” Munoz said. “If you tear a baby apart from their mother, that’s a heinous crime.”
But Munoz is able to do her time knowing that she has a loving family waiting for her on the outside, spending all her phone time speaking to her daughters and feels blessed to still be married to her husband of 20 years. Despite being denied clemency years ago, Munoz’s sentence was eventually reduced to 15 years and 8 months. But with more than four years of her sentence left to serve, she still clings to hope. “I’ve always had this hope, this great faith that it would change when I was most depressed,” she said.