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Money-Hungry Trafficker Finds True Riches

David dropped out of college to make easy money dealing cocaine. A heist to steal an airplane rewarded him with a 20-year prison sentence and two cell-mates intent on changing his life. Read Transcript


DAVID: It was built in me to win every time.

You don't lose.

NARRATOR: David [INAUDIBLE] drive to win

came from his father, a coach and world-class diving champion

who pushed him to be his best.

DAVID: I was co-captain of the wrestling

team and I'd come home and he'd say, how did you do?

I said, well, I pinned him.

And he said, what round?

Well, second round.

You let him get out of the first round?

NARRATOR: His dad wasn't the only one

he worked hard to impress.

Always the outsider, He measured his self-worth

by what other people had.

If they had the girl, if they had the car, or all that stuff,

they somehow were accepted because they had that stuff.

And I wanted that.

But once I got it, it didn't mean anything.

So now I must need something else.

NARRATOR: In college, he worked several jobs trying

to keep up with his peers.

He had money, but no time to enjoy it.

That only isolated him more and he became bitter.

So I constantly missed the fun.

I missed the excitement.

I missed being accepted.

And I thought to myself, these other kids

get these allowances from their parents to go out

and do these things.

I have to work.

But here's where it flipped.

I'm the guy who's doing everything the right way

and it's not working.

And I said, that's it.

Nice guys finish last.

I'm no longer going to be the nice guy.

NARRATOR: When David was 19, one of his friends

told him they could make easy cash selling cocaine.

On his work break one night, David and his friend

made a deal in the parking lot.

DAVID: The first transaction that I

did was two grams of cocaine for two $100 bills

and the whole transaction took two minutes.

And I made more in that transaction--

in two minutes-- than I made working part-time hours

that whole week while going to college.

And I remember the moral compass flipping back and forth,

thinking I just did a drug deal.

I need to stop.

NARRATOR: But the promise of easy money was intoxicating.

He dropped out of college, learned the business,

and was soon making $20,000 a month.

DAVID: And I'm like, wait a second,

this is a whole different world and I liked it.

I wanted the finer things and I just didn't want a suit,

I wanted the Armani or the Versace or whatever it was.

NARRATOR: He started a legitimate venture--

a chain of watch stores trying to convince himself

that one day he'd quit the drug business altogether.

DAVID: There was always the conviction.

I did not want to go deeper.

I wanted to believe a lie that I wasn't going into the drug

business for life.

I was going into the drug business

to make enough money to take the money out to go make my life.

NARRATOR: His mother had been praying for him to turn to God

and she had suspicions about his involvement with drugs.

One day, she confronted him about it.

David, of course, denied it.

DAVID: So I deflected the confrontation in that moment

but I remember walking out thinking,

I really need to stop this business.

This is not honoring to my parents.

This is not what they raised me to be.

I'm risking ruining the family name for money.

NARRATOR: David also started to take a hard look

at what was at risk.

Prison time.

You can't buy your way out of these things.

It could be life or death on the tarmac of an airport.

You could get killed during a drug deal.

You could get robbed.

And I remember thinking to myself, this is no longer fun.

I want out of this.

NARRATOR: He decided one last big score would

be enough to get out for good.

So he agreed to broker a deal trading stolen airplanes

for cocaine and cash.

He didn't know the Feds were watching.

In 1989, he got busted and was sentenced to 22 years.

I remember it was cold and I remember being strip searched.

And I'm standing there naked and I thought,

I have really hit rock bottom and now

I'm getting ready to go down the tier to my prison cell

in Leavenworth Penitentiary.

And I remember thinking to myself,

how far have I really fallen?

NARRATOR: Both his cellmates had become Christians and tried

to talk to him about Jesus, but he wanted nothing

to do with God.

Then months later, a visit from his mother

changed his thinking.

My mother looked at me.

She says, my God, son, you look like a Holocaust victim.

And I thought to myself, I have really

dropped to the lowest levels of degradation.

And I remember thinking to myself,

if this is all there is, this doesn't satisfy.

I need-- I think I need God.

NARRATOR: That night, he went to a Bible study

with his cellmates and gave his life to Jesus Christ.

DAVID: I remember inviting Jesus in--

giving up my will for His.

That exchange took place.

I remember knowing that He would forgive my past

and give me a fresh slate that was clean.

And I knew that my commitment was a covenant.

And I remember after I prayed that prayer--

I just knew I was different on the inside.

NARRATOR: David founded a Bible ministry in prison

while serving 20 years.

Today, he's a speaker and pastor of an online ministry.

He and his wife, Joanna, work together

to help people find peace and hope.

DAVID: When we really give it all to the Lord, He'll take it

and He gives us all of him in that place in return.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

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