Natalia Wade is our next highlight in the ILLICIT Freedoms Campaign, which plans to surface the silenced stories of prisoners of the war on cannabis. She has a heart of liquid gold and a tale that needs to be told. She was charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana in North Carolina, a state she had never visited before, and sentenced to 87 months in a federal prison.

 

Natalia Wade grew up in California, raised by strong women who taught her independence and to “get things on your own so you don’t have to ask anyone for anything…You’ve got to get out and get something early on in age.” She became a retail manager by age 16.

 

At age 23, Natalia moved out to LA, got three jobs, and cultivated a life and community for the next ten years. 

 

When asked if she would like to have cannabis funds deposited into her bank account. She thought, “There’s no harm in that. I’ll do that too. Extra money on the side.”

 

She made deposits for 8-9 months then ventured off, got her own place with a significant other and continued life. 

 

Years down the line, she hears that Evelyn is arrested, and Natalia calls the marshall to turn herself in. 

 

The investigation was led by HSI and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, with the assistance of several other law enforcement agencies, to include the Gastonia Police Department, the Concord Police Department, the Mooresville Police Department, the Pineville Police Department, the Huntersville Police Department, the Kannapolis Police Department, the Cornelius Police Department, the Waxhaw Police Department, North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Iredell County Sheriff's Office, the Union County Sheriff's Office, and the Beverly Hills and Culver City, Calif., police departments.

 

Natalia’s incarceration alone cost taxpayers $263,167.75

Tune in next week to discuss how long the jury deliberated before returning with a guilty verdict. Or click the link in bio to hear Natalia tell the whole story.

NATALIA WADE

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