I was raised by a big, close, loving, Mexican family. My life as a kid had its ups and downs but it was pretty good until I started using drugs and drinking as a teenager. I joined the army and served three years in the 2nd Armored Calvary Regiment and came back to the United States strung out on heroin. I got caught doing crimes to support my habit and did the time. I stopped doing serious crimes in 1984, but I was still a heroin addict. I had never in my life used violence or hurt anyone but, because of my previous crimes, I was sentenced to 25 years to LIFE in 1996 under California’s Three Strikes Law for petty theft.