tv Locked Up Abroad MSNBC November 29, 2015 3:00am-4:01am PST
packages out of the suitcase. they laid them on the bed and sprayed them with anti-dog spray. they turn up the tv to mask the sound of the duct tape. they have six bundles made up and they're putting two on each leg and they're trying to put two across my stomach. i went into complete panic mode. i'm not going to be able to go. i was like, whoa, whoa, calm down, we're going to figure this out. they seemed to me to be nervous at this point. then all of a sudden -- [ phone ringing ] ♪ i got sadness deep in my
pockets and there it's going to stay until you walk on by ♪ >> after high school, i bought myself a '74 vw bus, drove it around the country going to shows and going to communes. music has been a very central point of my life. music is like -- is like church. it talks to the soul. it fills you with such great energy. ♪ will you be alone with me >> one time as i was driving from florida for a reggae festival. my bus ended up breaking down in arizona. i'm a person that never really believed in coincidences. i think it was like fate calling me. i was looking through some of the local papers. they had an ad for a recording school to start classes for audio engineering.
i knew that that was where i needed to be. once i had finished the course, i had gotten an internship at a studio in trinidad and tobago. i was really excited about it. we were preparing all the songs for carnival season. it almost didn't seem like work. it was more fun. i was getting into the belief system of rastafarianism. the basis of dreadlocks, it's like a natural connection. they're considered like antennas. you get your spiritual energy through them. we used to go down to shoot some pool. me and some of the artists i was working with, we ended up talking with this girl, nakisha. she was very easy on the eyes. she had very appealing contributes. we ended up falling in love with
each other. at this point, i don't think my life could have gotten much better. made me feel really like this is where i kind of needed to be. this is home. the carnival in trinidad, i never thought it was going to be as crazy as it was. just insane. it's just getting rid of all those inhibitions. freeing yourself of everything. so after carnival was done, my money supply was just about gone. because i knew it was time to head back stateside and try to make some money where i would be able to return to trinidad as soon as possible. you know, nakisha and i started getting serious enough that it was going to be a long-term thing. the only thing i was thinking
about was how i was going to be able to get enough money up and try to get back to trinidad and continue the life that i had been living. once i got back to miami, i was staying on a friend's couch. i was working as a cook in a restaurant. the relationship between nakisha and i was basically being lived over the telephone. one day, i called nakisha and she had told me that she was pregnant. >> wow. >> i think as much as i was shocked about it, i was excited. but the pressure seemed to kick in a lot more. >> get your ass in here. >> it wasn't just about trying to get back to trinidad. now it was trying to prepare for my future completely. i proposed marriage.
>> marry me. >> we were in love, but i think the responsibility factor kicked that in even more. the place where i was staying at in miami, there was john that i'd been speaking with a lot about my situation. >> come on. >> he brought up his concern about how i was dealing with things. and he saw that i was really pressured. he told me that his cousin would be able to help me. >> what's the deal? >> they were looking for people with american passports to transport cocaine for them. >> it's very simple. very simple. >> there's no trouble? >> this would basically take most of my worries away.
a couple days later, i met with john's cousin. the deal was make the trip from south america to europe to deliver cocaine for $15,000. >> you just have to travel. that's it. >> it was going to be an easy thing. he knew people that had done it. they had their own private airfield. it was going to be boom, boom, easy money. i didn't know destinations at that point. >> you guys have done this a few times, huh? >> never be caught. >> i can definitely say it was attempting offer. if i did do this, i would be able to get myself back to trinidad, have money to get the family started. but to go from, you know, peace loving hippie viewpoint of the world to trafficking cocaine, which i'd never seen or used in my life, was a quite drastic step.
>> hey, michael! michael! >> hey. >> how you been, man? >> i wish i knew why i just didn't say no at that point. >> i'm on board. i'm in. >> really? >> yeah, i'm on board. sounds like a sweet deal. >> listen, we're going to get into some details. >> he got a photocopy of my passport and brought it to his people. they bought me a ticket to go to ecuador. >> listen, mom? >> i told my mom that i had to run out of the country real quick to do something and i was going to be back soon. it really bothered me that i couldn't express truthfully the situation to my mom.
>> i don't know. maybe a couple of days. >> me and my mom have always been really close. i think my mom's always been my best friend. i felt i kind of needed the bible to make sure i was doing positive things because really i was trying to do a positive thing. i was just going about it in a negative way. i arrive at the airport, i collect my bag, and went over to get a taxi. here i am, i just got into this country. i have no idea of the customs and the language. all i know i was supposed to
meet these people. just knew this wasn't going to go well, but there was no turning back either. what a dumb ass. [ phone ringing ] i received a phone call to the room. people kind of get the perception from television and movies that drug smugglers are going to be a certain way. >> i'm michael. >> but these guys, they were nothing like i was expecting. they were very nice guys.
>> michael, how you doing? you comfortable in the hotel? >> uh-huh. the hotel's great. >> i feel that they were kind of trying to feel me out to see if i was going to be the person that they needed or wanted to do this. >> get back into the business, let's go. >> okay. >> there is no time -- >> they went into depth about how things were going to go. and there was going to be no private airfield. i was going to be flying into a major airport. >> just take it as a small change of plans, you know. >> they said they were going to have things covered. they had been sending people quite a while, never had anybody get caught. just kind of reassuring, make me feel comfortable about the situation. looking back, i consider myself to be completely naive, not
questioning enough. >> listen up, michael. i think we're going to have a problem with your hair. >> my hair? >> they didn't realize i had dreads. they had only seen my passport photo. they were nervous about the dreads because of people's preconceived notions that they use drugs or drug dealers. they asked me if i would cut off my dreads. i didn't see that as being any kind of possibility. >> these are my dreads. these are my roots. >> it's going to grow back. >> it's like my part of my religion. >> i told them because of my religious beliefs i wouldn't be able to cut off my dreads. i called my girlfriend and it was then that i explained that i was in ecuador and i was getting ready to transport cocaine. >> into europe. okay? >> she took it a bit lighter
than i was expecting. >> the thing is -- >> i told her about them wanting to cut off my dreads. >> no. i don't know. maybe. >> again, she made light of it. she basically said it was my decision if i wanted to do it or not. >> maybe, yeah. >> i was looking for her to say yeah, forget about it, come back. and i wasn't getting it. >> yeah, bye. >> i think all the pressure in this whole situation from beginning to end came from within me. there was no getting out of the situation. i had to cut off my dreads. moderate to severe crohn's disease is tough, but i've managed. except that managing my symptoms was all i was doing. and when i finally told my doctor, he said humira is for adults like me who have tried other medications but still experience the symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease.
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i remember sitting in the chair and them starting to cut my dreads away. i think i kind of brought myself out of my body a bit at that point. it seemed like everyone that came off, the less sure i felt about myself. they collected them and put them into a bag and handed them to me. i was just numb. i understand that most people won't understand, but it was like i had basically sold my soul.
when i got back to the hotel, i just remember looking in the mirror and not even knowing who the heck i was. i had no clue. and it just wasn't -- it just wasn't being without the dreads, but i couldn't see my own soul in my eyes. i lost myself. if you can't keep your vow to god, you know, who can you keep -- keep your promise to? i obviously wasn't keeping a promise to myself. i felt completely -- completely alone and lost.
>> good to see you. >> how you doing? >> good. >> big party here today. >> yeah. a little bit. >> we got something for you. >> the next day they bought my airline ticket to go to madrid, first class ticket. >> first class? >> first class. >> they bought me some clothes, a dress shirt, a pair of jeans, some dress shoes. i could have given a care less when they picked out. i let them do whatever they thought was good. i wasn't there. physically, i was there. mentally, i was dead. i was just hoping that all of this wasn't for nothing. i was just hoping there was going to be, you know, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. >> okay. >> let's go. >> let's get your stuff. >> see you later, all right? >> take a rest.
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it was the evening before i left ecuador. >> hello? >> michael? michael, is that you? >> i call my mother. it was her birthday, so i called to wish her happy birthday. there was a really, really bad connection trying to get to the states for some reason. >> i was just calling to say happy -- hello? >> i can barely hear you. >> it kept on getting cut off and cut off. >> i'm in ecuador. yeah. i'm going to go to madrid. >> but i feel that she read through the lines at that point and the charade was up. >> i'm just kind of cruising around. >> i completely felt guilty about deceiving her like that. >> yeah, mom?
>> after i got done with my mom, i ended up calling down to my girlfriend. >> i know. i'm just calling to say i'm leaving tomorrow. >> and she chose this time to tell me not to proceed. >> no, no. it's safe. i swear -- >> she was begging. she was crying over the phone begging me. just leave it, just come. just get out of there. but it was too little too late. i remember just walking around the streets in quito. i just wanted to go back home. wanted to get -- get away from this. but i don't think it would have
done any good because i had already sold my soul. i went back to the hotel and just -- i was done. i just went into a coma state. [ knocking ] >> departure day. the two colombian guys, they come to the room with the suitcase. they pulled the packages out of the suitcase, they laid them on the bed and sprayed them all with anti-dog spray. >> anti dog spray. >> they turn up the tv to mask the sound of the duct tape. they have six bundles made up and they're putting two on each leg and they're trying to put two across my stomach. at that point, i went into complete panic mode. >> this won't work. >> i'm not going to be able to go on this trip. >> across the ocean -- get it off. >> that's when they were like, whoa, whoa, calm down, we're going to figure this out.
they seemed to me to be nervous at this point. then all of a sudden -- [ phone ringing ] -- it was very, very tense atmosphere. [ phone ringing ] >> hello? >> it was the front desk telling us that it was just past checkout time. i told her, can you give me a half hour more. i'm just going. i'm just trying -- i just want to get this done as soon as and as fast as possible. i think everything was just like so crazy at that point.
>> i get to the airport to check-in, get up to the desk. >> good morning, sir, may i have your passport and your ticket please? >> and going through the ticket and the paperwork and whatnot, it was two hours before the flight was due to go. she asked me what i have to check in, asked me the typical are you carrying any illegal substances. and i say no. >> no. >> now i go through the metal detector to go towards the gates. ♪ i take everything out of my pockets, my wallet and probably a pen and trinkets, whatever.
from this point in the story on, it's just like a big blur. it just runs so quickly. it's like watching a movie in fast forward. i go through the metal detector and all of a sudden alarms start going off. i felt complete terror. you're all set to book a flight using your airline credit card miles. and surprise! those seats sometimes cost a ridiculous number of miles, making it really hard to book the flight you want. luckily, there's a better way... with the capital one venture card. with venture, you'll earn unlimited double miles on every purchase, every day. and when you're ready to travel, just book the flight you want, on any airline, then use your miles to cover the cost. now you're getting somewhere. what's in your wallet?
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it's gotten squarer. over the years. brighter. bigger. it's gotten thinner. even curvier. but what's next? for all binge watchers. movie geeks. sports freaks. x1 from xfinity will change the way you experience tv. i'm todd piro with the hour's top stories. nbc sources say the suspect in the colorado springs planned parenthood shooting made references to abortions. but his statements were described as rantings and no official motive has been revealed. donald trump went after jeb bush and marco rubio in florida. trump called rubio weak on
immigration and says he doesn't even talk about bush anymore. now back to "locked up abroad." [ alarms ] all this time, these silent alarms are going off in my head, now the real ones are going off. i go back and recheck my pockets. then i notice i had a pack of gum in there. the aluminum from the gum had setoff the detector. i went back through the detector and there was no problem. the thing that most people throw on the ground could have cost me everything. now we're one hour before we
were supposed to take off. i went through to a waiting area. figured the best thing to do was find a chair and just sit there and read my book. next thing i know, there's security walking around with a german shepherd. and they start walking towards me. just trying to hold onto the book. just keep both hands on the book to not show any nerves. and he comes up and he ends up sitting right to my left-hand side. he sits down with the dog
literally less than a foot from me. and the dog never, ever showed one interest in me at all. i had almost four kilos of cocaine on me and that dog never flinched. it's now about a half hour before we're due to leave. i was completely confident. it was just two major instances that should have been my downfall and i flew by both with flying colors. i thought, i'm going to land in madrid and it's all going to be good from there.
we arrived at the airport in madrid and after all this, i'm just completely exhausted. but i can smell freedom on the other side. i know within an hour's time, all these packages will be off me, i'll have money in my pocket and i can try to get back as soon as i can. so i get into the terminal and got my passport stamped. >> hi. okay. >> thanks. >> go ahead. >> i went to the bathroom, tried to readjust the packages a little bit. and then i went to get my bag from the carousel. and at this point, there was only -- there's only one more thing to pass. that was just going -- going past customs. and the only thing that was going through my head is,
there's not going to be a third instance. i already had two close calls. you know, i got no chance of losing this time. as i'm approaching, i made eye contact to try and be as natural as possible and take any suspicion off of myself. at this moment, i thought i was home free. thought it was walk out the doors, get in a taxi, get in a hotel and that's it. but then the other gentleman decided to say, no. >> senor! senor!
>> i think i realize at this point that it was all over. i had been lucky twice. i passed the metal detector, i passed the dog. there's just no way you're going to pass all three. three strikes. they had me put the suitcase up on the table. and they wanted me to open it. i had a lock on the suitcase. i had to get the key out of my wallet. i knew it was over. the nervousness had pretty much gotten me then. i'm sitting here with this little tiny key trying to open
up this lock with two hands. they search the bag, found nothing. and that's when they called me over to a little side room. i think the only thing i can equate would be a wild animal that's been caught in a trap. you're there, you're free, but you're not. they had me stand with my arms straight out, move down from my chest down towards my legs. all i wanted to do then was mentally leave my body, just transport myself somewhere else and just leave the scene. i -- i felt completely defeated at that point.
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oh. okay i was just making sure. get 15 gigs for the price of 10 now at at&t. they took me to another room. there was probably about a dozen people in there. felt like the freak show. everybody just kind of standing there watching me like a rat that's caught in a trap not knowing if he's going to try to gnaw his own leg off to escape or wither away right there. they told me to take down my pants so they could see what actually i was carrying. [speaking foreign language] that's when the packets were
revealed to them. before they removed the package from my legs, they took photos to show how i was carrying them. it was like almost like they were having a little party. they seemed quite, quite pleased with themselves for all this. they seemed to take enjoyment out of it. then they took them off and put them all on a table. they cut one open to -- to -- they taste tested it and did a test on it just to see what it was. [speaking foreign language] the craziest thing of all was, this is the first time that i had ever seen cocaine in my life. >> where are you from? >> miami.
>> they just asked me where i was going, who i was meeting, who had sent me. >> who sent you? >> but they basically thought that i had been working for myself. >> you understand my reluctance to tell you. >> couldn't have afforded to work for myself even i wanted to that much. >> please hold on the drugs so they can take your picture. >> they then took mug shots. >> one front and two of your profile. right and left. >> at that point, the tears are rolling down my face as he's trying to take photos of me. >> please calm down. to your right. >> i had let down the world.
just wasn't those that were closest to me, but everybody. ♪ >> i'm allowed to make one phone call. the day that i got arrested was mother's day. there was just no way that i could have called my mother. i was too ashamed. way too ashamed of myself. >> hello? hi. >> the only thing i'm thinking is the embassy. >> hi, my name is michael morey and i'm in some trouble and i'm an american citizen. i'm in some trouble and i need
looking out the window, seeing a few trees out there, thinking that this might be my view for 20 years. i'm on the -- in the one cell block where it was almost all foreigners. pretty intense. knowing that it was probably going to be quite a while before i even knew any kind of judgment. prison was definitely a mental torture. the hardest thing to deal with is knowing that the people that you love the most are suffering ten times worse than you are. it was probably about a month after i was inside that i actually contacted my mom.
it took -- took a lot for me to get enough courage to actually face that one. entering the number in, and it seemed like an eternity before she finally did pick up. [ phone ringing ] >> hello? >> she answered that phone and all i heard was tears. she was so pissed off at me. she told me don't you ever do that again, don't you ever not have contact with me. how could you leave me not knowing what was going on? i'm imagining all these things like i see in movies. i just apologized, just told her i was sorry that i -- she -- she raised me better than that. she didn't deserve that.
a couple weeks after that, i heard my name called out. it was a letter. it was from my girlfriend. she stated that she's stressed out, that she had lost the baby. and that she couldn't continue on and that it was over. reading that letter was -- was like having my insides pulled out. it turned out that the two people that i was trying to help most in the world i ended up hurting most in the world. i don't think there's any words that can express how i felt at that moment.
in panama, which is a city of roughly 2 million people, we are having 5,000 new cars being sold every month. this is a very big problem for us with respect to fast and efficient transportation. it's kind of a losing proposition to keep going this way. we are trying to tackle the problem with several different modes. one of them is the brand new metro. we had a modest forecast: 110,000 passengers per day in the first line. we are already over 200,000. our collaboration with citi has been very important from the very beginning. citi was our biggest supporter and our only private bank. we are not only being efficient in the way we are moving people now, we are also more amicable to the environment. people have more time for the family and it's been one of the most rewarding experiences to hear people saying:
after receiving that letter, i just didn't see any hope anymore. i kind of went into a pretty deep depression. the sun just didn't seem like it was going to be shining on me again any time soon. i used to just walk the whole -- the whole perimeter. pouring rain and i'd still be out there walking by myself, not speaking to anybody. it seemed like everybody i tried to help i ended up harming.
instead of having the mightiest touch, i ended up having the crap touch. everything that came close to me just turned -- i finally went to medical and expressed what i was going through. and they moved me to the infirmary. i wasn't feeling anything at all at that time. they basically just gave me pills trying to calm me down, keep me level. after a while, i had a bad reaction to the -- the medication that they were giving me. one minute i was sitting there in tears and the next i was laughing. they had to come in and brace me
down to give me a shot to calm me. that basically put me out. i was hopeful that once the verdict come down that i might be going home. >> michael! >> i just remember looking down at the paper and seeing that i had been sentenced nine years. and just being completely in shock. i felt like i'd been punched in
the gut. i think after realizing that there was nothing i could do to change my fate, i started growing my dreadlocks again. at the foot of my bed, i had an altar made up with different religious artifacts. every morning, i'd wake up and i'd do 20 minutes of meditation. i'd do prayer and then i'd do scripture reading. i was trying to do everything i could to kind of regain my spiritual footing. but it almost seemed like i was trying too hard. i think the fact of not having that connection to the earth or to other people that i could reason with, it just seemed like a falsity almost. i believe that i lost my -- my
spirituality because of what happened to me in ecuador. i should have listened to myself. i should have trusted myself. i went against everything that i believed. and in the process, lost my soul. one positive thing did come out of my experience in spain. after a few years of being there, i was allowed leave from the prison. and on my first leave, i -- i met this -- this girl. ♪ i'm continuing to try to move forward and do everything i can. right now, i think i'm just
living for today. i'm not really worried about what happened yesterday or what's going on tomorrow. i'm just trying to make it day by day. msnbc takes you behind the walls of america's most notorious prisons into a world of chaos and danger. now, the scenes you've never seen. "lockup: raw." >> most prisons have units designed for protective custody. they're for inmates who become targets. child molesters or gang