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Drug Dealing Mom Gambles with Kids' Future

Raised in poverty, Antonina wanted a better life, so she turned to drug dealing and gambling for financial security. Read Transcript


Reporter: ANTANINA

GRIFFIN REMEMBERS GROWING UP

IN THIS HOUSING PROJECT IN

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA.

MOST OF HER MEMORIES ARE OF

THE CHAOS IN THE COMMUNITY

AND AT HOME.

I LOOK OUTSIDE ON ANY

GIVEN DAY AND SEE THE

FIGHTING.

I CAN SEE THE GUN.

WITHIN THE HOME, IT WAS TIME

WHERE MY AUNTS AND UNCLES

WOULD FIGHT EACH OTHER.

YOU DON'T OWN ME.

THE HECK I DO.

Reporter: SHE AND HER

MOTHER LIVED WITH A HOUSE

FULL OF PEOPLE.

THE TWO WERE NEVER CLOSE

BECAUSE HER MOM PARTIED

CONSTANTLY.

IT WAS HER GRANDMOTHER THAT

WANT ANTANINA TO BREAK THE

FAMILY CYCLE OF FAMILY POP

POVERTY AND VIOLENCE.

MY MOTHER INSTILLED ME OF

DREAMING OF WANTING MORE

THAN THIS.

SHE USED TO HAVE US DRAW

PICTURES OF THE HOUSES WITH

WANTED TO LIVE IN.

I WOULD DRAW THIS BIG OLD

HOUSE WITH SUNSHINE IN THE

CORNER, WITH ME AND MY

MOTHER AND MY BROTHER

STANDING THERE.

Reporter: DESPITE HER

DREAM OF A BETTER LIFE, SHE

WAS DRAWN IN BY OTHER

INFLUENCES.

GROWING UP, GOING TO

SCHOOL, I GOT INTO FIGHTS.

AS A YOUNG ADULT, I GOT INTO

FIGHTS.

THAT WAS A WAY OF SHOWING

WHO I REALLY WAS.

Reporter: AND AFTER

ANTANINA'S MOM DIED, HER

GRANDMOTHER STARTED TAKING

HER TO CHURCH.

BUT SHE ALWAYS FELL BACK ON

THE LIFE SHE KNEW.

SHE HAD HER FIRST CHILD AT

17.

EVERYBODY I HUNG WITH

ALREADY HAD A CHILD.

SO IT WAS, LIKE, OKAY, NOW

I'M PART OF THE CLICK.

I'VE HAVING MY BABY NOW.

I CAN GET ON THE SYSTEM.

I'LL HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF

MONEY COMING IN.

I'M NOT WORKING.

Reporter: THEN HER

GRANDMOTHER DIED, AND

ANTANINA WAS DEVASTATED.

I GOT MAD AT GOD.

I WAS REALLY UPSET.

YOU HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY --

OKAY, I UNDERSTAND MY MOM.

I DIDN'T HAVE A CONNECTION

WITH MY MOM.

BUT MY GRANDMOTHER?

LIKE, REALLY, GOD?

Reporter: SHE STOPPED

GOING TO CHURCH AND STARTED

FIGHTING CONSTANTLY.

I LOVE CLUBBING.

I LOVED THE FIGHTING.

I LOVED BUMPING UP INTO

GIRLS, TRYING TO START

STUFF.

YOU KNOW, THAT WAS A HIGH

FOR ME.

THAT WAS MY HIGH.

Reporter: SHE TRIED TO

WORK, BUT HER HABIT OF

PARTYING ALL NIGHT GOT HER

FIRED.

AND OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS,

SHE HAD THREE MORE

CHILDREN.

MY MOTHER HAD THREE KIDS

BY THREE DIFFERENT MEN.

I DIDN'T WANT THAT, ALTHOUGH

I ENDED UP FOLLOWING HER

FOOTSTEPS IN THAT AREA.

BUT I ALWAYS KNEW I WANTED

MORE.

Reporter: GETTING OUT

OF THE PROJECTS WOULD COST

MONEY, AND ANTANINA WAS

WILLING TO USE ANY MEANS

NECESSARY.

I GOT MY FIRST OF THE

MONTH CHECK, AND I TOOK THAT

MONEY AND I BOUGHT SOME

DRUGS.

AND MY YOUNGER COUSIN TAUGHT

ME HOW TO CUT IT UP, BAG IT

UP, AND SELL IT.

IT WAS JUST A HABIT, LIKE

THIS IS MY HUSTLE.

MY JOB IS TO SELL DRUGS TO

TAKE CARE OF MY KIDS.

Reporter: THE COCAINE

BUSINESS WAS LUCRATIVE, BUT

HER HUSTLE WAS NOT WITHOUT

CONSEQUENCES.

WE STANDING ON THE

SIDEWALK TALKING, AND HERE

COMES A CAR, AROUND THE

CURVE, AND THEY JUST STARTED

SHOOTING.

MY CAR GOT SHOT UP.

I'M DRAGGING MY DAUGHTER,

WHILE I'M EIGHT MONTHS

PREGNANT, RUNNING HIND A

BUILDING, TO TRY TO GET INTO

THE APARTMENT.

Reporter: ANTANINA KNEW

SHE WAS PLAYING A DANGEROUS

GAME SELLING DRUGS, BUT TO

HER THE RISK WAS WORTH THE

HOPE OF A BETTER LIFE FOR

HER FAMILY.

I'M NOT SURE IF THE DRUG

MONEY IS GOING TO GET ME THE

BIGGER HOUSE, BUT I SAW THE

BIGGER HOUSE.

I SAW ME AND MY KIDS LIVING

BETTER.

Reporter: DURING THIS

TIME HER HAIRDRESSER STARTED

INVITING HER TO CHURCH.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT

GOING TO CHURCH WITH ME?

I DON'T FEEL LIKE GOING

TO CHURCH, NOT RIGHT NOW.

SO EVERY TIME I WOULD GO GET

MY HAIR DONE, SHE WAS LIKE,

ANTATINA, YOU NEED TO COME

WITH ME TO CHURCH.

Reporter: SHE STARTED

HOSTING GAMBLING PARTIES TO

MAKE MORE MONEY.

ONE NIGHT THINGS GOT OUT OF

HAND.

THEY WERE SO LOUD AND

CURSING, AND BEING SO

DISRESPECTFUL, AND MY KIDS

WERE BACK THERE ASLEEP.

SO I JUST SHUT THE WHOLE

CARD GAME DOWN.

I SAID, GET OUT OF MY

HOUSE.

AND I WENT IN MY ROOM, AND I

DUMPED MY MONEY OUT ON THE

BED.

Reporter: AND SHE

NOTICED THE TV WAS ON, AND A

PREACHER WAS SPEAKING.

IT WAS ALMOST LIKE WHAT

MY GRANDMOTHER WAS INSTILLED

IN ME WAS AWAKENED BY HIS

VOICE.

HE IS JUST DRAWING ME IN AND

DRAWING ME IN.

AND BEFORE I KNEW IT, I WAS

LITERALLY CRYING.

I WAS BALLING IN TEARS.

I JUST STARTED THINKING MORE

ABOUT MY CHILDREN.

WHAT IF THEY WOULD HAVE

STARTED SHOOTING AND

SOMETHING HAPPENED TO MY

KIDS?

HOW AM I GOING TO LIVE WITH

THAT?

THAT'S WHEN I SAID, I CAN'T

DO THIS ANYMORE.

I'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING

DIFFERENT.

Reporter: THAT MESSAGE

WAS NOT JUST A WAKEUP CALL,

IT CHANGED HER LIFE.

I JUST STARTED PRAYING.

AND I SAID, GOD, I PROMISE

I'M GOING TO CHURCH

TOMORROW.

LIKE, MAYBE TWO SUNDAYS

LATER IS WHEN I WENT UP AND

REALLY GOT SAVED, REALLY

DEDICATED MY LIFE TO CHRIST

AND PROMISED THAT I WOULD

SERVE HIM.çç

Reporter: SHE REALIZED

THAT GOD HAD BEEN PROTECTING

HER AND HER FOUR CHILDREN

ALL THE TIME.

I JUST STARTED THINKING

ABOUT TIMES THAT I COULD

HAVE BEEN KILLED, OR TIMES

THAT I COULD HAVE, YOU KNOW,

GONE TO PRISON.

OR TIMES THAT MY KIDS COULD

HAVE BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM

ME.

I WOULD HAVE TO SAY IT WAS

NOBODY BUT GOD.

Reporter: LATER

ANTANINA MARRIED DARREN,

WHOM SHE MET AT CHURCH.

HE WAS ALWAYS A SINGLE

PARENT, AND TOGETHER THEY

HAVE BUILT THE DREAM

ANTANINA HAVE ALWAYS

WANTED.

I'M THANKFUL FOR MY

HUSBAND.

HE IS AMAZING.

HE WAKES UP AND PRAYS OVER

US.

HE COVERS US.

ME GROWING UP CLUELESS.

I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO BE A

MOTHER.

I STARTED YOUNG.

I THANK GOD AND I THANK MY

HUSBAND BECAUSE HE ACTUALLY

TAUGHT ME.

AND IF IT WASN'T FOR JESUS

LOVING ME, DYING ON THE

CROSS FOR ME -- I UNDERSTAND

THAT EVERYTHING THAT JESUS

WENT THROUGH WAS FOR ME.

HE IS EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE,

LIKE, EVERYTHING.

I WOULD GO ALL OUT FOR HIM

BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN JUST

THAT GOOD TO ME.

JUST THAT GOOD.

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