As we put to rest 2018, Antonio Bascaro—the longest-serving non-violent federal cannabis prisoner—endured his last Christmas behind bars. After nearly 39 years in prison, he is finally scheduled to be released in June of 2019. Bascaro, an 84-year-old Cuban war hero, has suffered in prison since 1980 for conspiracy to import and distribute cannabis.
Prior to being incarcerated, he attended two years of medical school, but left to pursue his passion for flying. He joined the Cuban Naval Air Force and became one of their best pilots. Bascaro excelled to the point that he even had a brief stint with the CIA in an effort to overthrow Fidel Castro.
But his precision as a pilot attracted heavy hitters in the Miami drug scene. After leaving the Air Force, Bascaro began importing cannabis into the United States.
“He could fly close to the water, he could not be detected,” said Eugene Fischer, a friend Bascaro made in prison for a (you guessed it!) cannabis conviction. Fischer has since passed away due to complications from the poor conditions he endured in prison.
Alas, Bascaro’s passion for flying (and cannabis) got him in trouble. 38 years ago, Bascaro was arrested and charged for importing 600,000 pounds of cannabis into the United States. Federal agents expected him to turn over the evidence, but he refused to cooperate due to his deep sense of loyalty and honor. Bascaro’s case played out during the harshest years of the War on Drugs. Jury nullification wasn’t an option. A jury would never exercise their right to nullify unjust drug laws due to the overwhelming propaganda and fear instilled in the American psyche.
Ironically, the actual kingpin who hired Bascaro was already released from prison. Bascaro is the only one who remains locked up for this non-violent crime. Despite the …
Author: Kristin Flor / High Times