84's Antonio Bascaro was released early this month (2.5) from Miami prison after 39 years - the longest prison term for a nonviolent cannabis offender in an American prison.
Bascaro is a former fighter pilot from Cuba who fought in the US against the Castro regime in the 60, including the failed American invasion of Cuba in the Bay of Pigs.
In the 70 he lived in Little Havana, a neighborhood of Cuban expatriates in Miami, which was then the main gateway to cannabis and cocaine to the United States. Where he joined a Cuban crime organization that exploited its pilot skills to smuggle vast amounts of cannabis from South America to Miami.
The organization operated a sophisticated network that smuggled cannabis from Colombia to the United States by ships and planes, and bribed police in Florida to help him. He was arrested at 1980 in Guatemala City and handed over to the DEA in the United States.
He was charged with membership in a criminal organization that smuggled over a ton of cannabis to the United States, and after refusing to testify against his friends in exchange for a plea bargain, he was convicted and sentenced to 270 years.
"I refused to cooperate with the prosecution because of my moral and ethical values, and also my military training, which taught me not to use someone else to solve my problems," he said. In an interview To the BBC. "No one forced me to join the conspiracy, so I did not want to drop it on someone else to save my own skin."
All his requests for leniency in his sentence were rejected over the years, and only this year it was decided to shorten his sentence for good behavior.
"I did everything I could to make the justice system ease his sentence, but without success," says Baskaru's daughter Myra. "During the years he spent in prison, the laws of cannabis in the United States have changed and punishment has been significantly reduced - but these changes do not apply retroactively to previous convictions."
Myra, of course, is happy about her father's release, but also concerned about his future. Because he was convicted of a serious offense and is not an American citizen, he may be deported from the state.
"Where is he supposed to go, to Cuba where he will be sent to prison again for fighting Fidel Castro? To Guatemala, who turned him in to the United States, where he does not know anyone and has nothing? "She wondered.
Meanwhile, Bescaro was documented reuniting with his family and enjoying his first meal out of jail for almost four decades. A decision regarding his continued stay in the United States has yet to be made.