#abq4ward: Ex-drug trafficker on how to get criminals on the right side of the law
September 13, 2017 07:16 AM
SAN JUAN PUEBLO, N.M. -- As a high school student, Ayla Jarvis was a star student with straight A's. Unlike her peers, Jarvis wasn’t planning on college.
Because of her family business, she was planning on going to prison.
When she was 19, Jarvis was among the 21 co-conspirators federally indicted in 2005 for drug trafficking. Federal agents busted her father, Dana Jarvis, the owner of the now closed Nob Hill Club Rhythm and Blues, for allegedly moving thousands of pounds of marijuana to Arizona, Colorado and Ohio.
"It was a bunch of my family and a bunch of family friends in 11 different states,” Ayla Jarvis said. “It was big."
The younger Jarvis grew up around drugs and used heroin as a teen.
"As a heroin addict, you commit these crimes," she said. "I was committing crimes every single day, whatever it was to get what I needed to get."
After cycling in and out of the prison system, Jarvis finally plea-bargained with a judge and agreed to enter the Delancey Street program. She has been sober for four years and now works as an accountant.
North of Espanola, the nonprofit Delancey Street trains and employs former felons.
Andrew Urenda also works for Delancey Street. He manages the nonprofit’s moving truck department. Two years ago, Delancey Street was his only way to get off of drugs and away from a life of crime.
"Methamphetamine,” Urenda said. "I was facing 72 counts of fraud and forgery and stuff like that."
Though Urenda frequented prison, it was the wrong prescription for him.
"Got out, made it for like four months, went back in for like eight more months,” Urenda said.
Learning how to work on the right side of the law for the first time required peer training and emotional support. Jarvis believed if she didn’t change, the drugs would kill her.
"If there's anything I can tell them [criminals], it doesn't get any better," Jarvis said. "The story doesn't go anywhere. It ends in prison or it ends in death."
For more information on the Delancey Street program, visit http://www.delanceystreetfoundation.org/facnm.php
Updated: September 13, 2017 07:16 AM
Created: September 12, 2017 07:33 PM
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