Most Affected: Former State Employee Diana Marquez

in Culture

In 1978, 18-year-old Diana Marquez and her family moved from Mexico to the U.S., settling in Nebraska. She could barely speak English, using films and TV shows to help teach her. Two years later, she met her eventual husband, Mario, before moving to El Paso, Texas in 1987. She had hoped to use the degree she earned while living in Mexico. However, forced to make ends meet, the duo took whatever jobs they could find, working as meat cutters at a processing plant.

“Not many people last long,” she said of the job, “But we had a necessity.” 

According to the Feds, Mario also turned to cannabis distribution, netting him a 13-year sentence on cannabis conspiracy charge in 1991. With three children, including an eight-month-old, at the time of the arrest, Marquez turned to the U.S. government. Through assistance programs, she obtained support for the children and her education. While her husband was in prison, Marquez earned her GED, then a degree in bookkeeping. She’d use the continued education to start a career as a Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission compliance officer in 2000.

“I was so proud of myself,” she recalled. 

Courtesy of Diana Marquez

Mario got back into pot sales when he returned from prison in December 2002. Marquez claims she was unaware of his dealings. Upon his release, the Feds deported Marquez-Ramos to Mexico, but he illegally crossed back into the U.S. sometime after. Once back, he worked on his family’s farm, along with his brother Hector, raising horses. The job took them to California for races, often coming home with substantial paydays. Marquez claims she asked to go but was always rebuffed and was never invited. 

She claims that Mario would say, “This is men’s business.” 

Marquez said her husband had similar approaches to life outside …

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Author: Andrew Ward / High Times

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