By Danielle Marie Mackey
By Lindsay Toler
By Lindsay Toler
By Lindsay Toler
By Lindsay Toler
By Danny Wicentowski
By Lindsay Toler
By Paul Friswold
On a dark rural highway, a week before Christmas in 1993, two Hispanic males barreled east through Missouri in a 1978 Mercury Cougar. Stashed in the trunk was nearly 100 pounds of marijuana.
It had taken the men fourteen hours to drive up from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and as Jorge Ibaudo napped in the back seat, Jose Reyes steered toward their final destination — a Super 8 hotel in Sedalia some 40 miles away.
Reyes didn't notice trooper David Schwalm with the Missouri Highway Patrol. That stretch of Highway 50 doesn't get much out-of-state traffic, and something about the car with New Mexico plates seemed suspicious — a hunch Schwalm would confirm moments later when he pulled over the vehicle. Neither Reyes nor Ibaudo could speak much English, but what they did manage to relay — that they were traveling to Sedalia to "meet a friend" — was fishy enough for Schwalm to ask them to pop the trunk. Today the state trooper remains in disbelief about what he saw as he lifted the lid.
"It was like some teenagers tried to do it for the first time," Schwalm says of the bricks of marijuana he easily found tucked under the trunk's carpeting and sloppily stuffed into the rear fender wells.
Back at the Johnson County Sheriff's Department, corporal James Wingo of the highway patrol's narcotics unit sat Reyes and Ibaudo down and offered them a deal: Cooperate with police to nab the buyer, and the prosecutor might go easy on them. Hell, there was even a possibility they'd be let go like it never happened.
Reyes cooperated right away, according to Schwalm, telling the cops that the drugs were destined for a man named Atilano Quintana. A quick call over to the Sedalia Police Department confirmed that Quintana was the real deal.
"Customs was going after Quintana," says Wingo, now a sergeant with the highway patrol. "Customs was investigating him at the time, and [Reyes and Ibaudo] were sources for Quintana, and they were bringing him the weed."
Reyes and Ibaudo were scheduled to meet Quintana at the hotel the next morning. Wingo — now working with the Sedalia police — encouraged them to do so, but only after the cops set up surveillance equipment in the adjoining hotel room. Around 8 a.m. a truck pulled into the Super 8 parking lot and two men exited: Quintana and a skinny white guy with a thick mustache. One of the Sedalia officers recognized the second man as Jeff Mizanskey, a local pothead with two prior arrests for weed who was known to sell a bag every now and then.
Sedalia police didn't know Mizanskey was coming, but they were glad he did.
"Mizanskey wasn't a target or who we expected to be showing up," Wingo recalls. "It was the Quintana guy — that's who [Reyes and Ibaudo] said they were taking the weed to. Mizanskey just sweetened the pot. He was well-known in Pettis County."
The cops watched Quintana and Mizanskey walk into the room. Mizanskey took a seat on a bed as Quintana talked business in Spanish with the two men. None of the Sedalia cops spoke Spanish, but it was not hard to understand what was going down.
To Wingo it looked like Quintana was the one conducting the deal. Mizanskey was there for backup.
"You do a dope deal, you bring your extra hand around," Wingo says. "For lack of a better word, [Mizanskey] was his 'helper,' I guess. They were just part of a conspiracy, and Mizanskey worked for Quintana."
On their video feed the cops witnessed Quintana pass Mizanskey a brick of weed and ask him how much he thought it weighed.
"About three or four," Mizanskey responded, as he handed it back. Minutes later Quintana and Mizanskey walked out of the room and climbed back into the truck. Police would surround the vehicle moments later as it drove away from the hotel.
Twenty years later and Ibaudo's and Reyes' whereabouts are unknown, though the Missouri Highway Patrol confirms that Ibaudo was let go without charges and Reyes spent a year in the county jail. Quintana — the man authorities initially targeted — got a ten-year sentence, did his time and moved back to New Mexico where he died in 2010. As for Jeff Mizanskey, the person who arguably played the most minor role inside the Super 8 that December morning, he got a life term in prison.
Today Mizanskey remains in prison, where he holds the distinction of being the only Missouri inmate serving a life sentence without parole for nonviolent marijuana offenses.
On a recent November morning at the Jefferson City Correctional Center, Jeff Mizanskey shuffles into the empty, florescent-lit visiting room accompanied by a female prison guard.
At the age of 60 Mizanskey walks with a limp and stands a slight five-foot-eight. He carries with him a bit of a paunch and wears the same mustache he did twenty years ago, though the whiskers have long faded to gray. A baseball-size lipoma protrudes out of his left forearm. The benign tumor started out about the size of a nickel fifteen years ago, but prison doctors at the time weren't concerned.
Shane coats are you saying your sins are worthy if less punishment? You probably over eat, cheat on you're spouse, touch kids,and get off on porn, and kick animals. Its hard to believe that this world is lead by evil arrogant power hungry selfish hypocritical clock suckers like you. Have you hugged your mom lately? Pot is like alcohol just more mellow and less VIOLENT
Jeff Mittelhauser is a scum, and is now a judge. Familiar trajectory, look at Scalia and most of the US "Supreme Court." If that statue of Lady Justice came alive, She would swiftly kick the shit out of these government criminals who defile her name.
I feel bad for his kids. Why the heck did he not stop slinging weed after strike 2? It should've been obvious to anyone that he wasn't cut out for that line of work.
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That's because meth production has been so crippled that only the cartels are manufacturing for a profit at this point :(another bag of apples) Meanwhile, Hemp/Cannabis is such a potent economic force that any person who can grow a weed can create an in-demand product. That, in itself, is amazing. They don't want you coming up though, this is all a gamed-up law scenario that has enabled the ruling of class of corporations to dictate the punishment onto a person for a plant.
thank you for sharing his story....just got off the phone with Jeff and he wanted you all to know how thankful he is ...... and to please call the governor..
Animal abusers get their victims given back to them, yet this guy, who hurt no one, is in jail for life. Our justice system is BULLSHIT.
But in my community, you can blow up your house with meth and get NOTHING! Maybe a slap on the hands.... Or if you play your cards right, you can get a local church to rebuild the house you blew up, give you clothes and money to restart your life, and no charges filed.
Missouri will likely see a ballot initiative in 2014 to legalize medical marijuana. Let's hope someone with some common sense that has the power to do something looks at this case.
I wonder what the prosecutor will say to God when he is about to be thrown into Hell "with no hope of parole". Somehow I don't think he will think that a "fair" sentence. People like him are the problem with this country. He makes himself bigger, trying for the Statehouse, while walking over the bodies of the people he so overzealously prosecutes. What a disgrace to the law. Justice is supposed to be balanced with mercy, but mercy, compassion, common sense and impartiality all died at the hands of republican fear mongers under Ronny Raygun -- the actor, and then continued under the House of Bush. As far as the prosecutor in this case -- maybe someone should lock him in a cell; place a banquet of food and drink just out of his reach -- and just walk away. Sentence: Life in the cell without the possibility of food.
This is an absolute outrage. I pray that he gets out and soon. Marijuana is the least of the world's problems!! Worry about something that matters.....this man's life!!!!
What a waste of good Nanny State money. We all know, marijuana is only dangerous if you're caught with it!
This story perfectly defines the atrocities of Marijuana Prohibition.
Atrocity (-trs-t)n. pl. a·troc·i·ties
1. Appalling or atrocious condition, quality, or behavior; monstrousness.
2. An appalling or atrocious act, situation, or object, especially an act of unusual or illegal cruelty inflicted by an armed force on civilians or prisoners.
As long as he has been in prison for his crime, Sedalia should be a drug free city. Well, its not. Its probably worse than it was before this man went to prison. These people that hold these offices and are suppose to uphold the law, only do so when it benefits them. I am sure the one's who own these private prisons are making money hand over fist off of people that are poor. I am sure there is a meth house on every other corner, if not every corner. Let the man go, he is not bothering anybody. He was not out harming other people. He was minding his own business and making a living for his family.
3 strikes and you are out was a knee jerk thing. It needs to be looked at, bunch this damn bunch in Jefferson City could make it worse.
blanket amnesty would not likely be the way to go.. but having a really really hard look at our incarceration policies and helping those that are clearly victims of it seems overdue at this point
Hrrrmmm...I guess, since I don't hear the same "Hew and cry" over this, that it MUST be OK while prison for life for drug offenses is not: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/12/09/iran-charm-offensive-belies-mounting-body-count-from-executions-at-home/
Well there's another [fill in the blank] heard from: Our "lovely government" can tax, regulate, mandate and charge anything WE damn well tell them to. It's called a representative republic Victoria. Witness ObamaCare. Get back to school, understand our form of government then come back and comment accordingly.
Well at least here's someone involved. I'm not so sure blanket amnesty is the solution but at least it's a proposal.
Doesn't matter if you "buy into" the social contract or not. Violate it and find out what happens to yer ass.
Nope: He broke several codified laws supported by society, went to trial as proscribed by society, was judged by society and sent to prison by society. A travesty of justice is when the rapist/child molester/murderer gets off on a technicality.
Question: Did you get a second chance after doing something patently stupid but not illegal or did you get a second chance after committing a felony? Two different things. The felon get's a second chance after doing his time. If you don't like the sentence, work towards increasing or reducing it.
Why is it people have lost sight that he's a drug dealer? He wasn't some dude who happened to get popped with a joint in the ashtray. This guy had enough pot to sell to all the kids in my entire town. A drug dealer is a drug dealer no matter the drug. He's right where he belongs. They need to increase the time and punishments for drug offenses. Maybe that would be a start to cleaning all these trash felons off the streets.
No he could die in prison because (he ) broke a law. Many innocents have died during his days So don't feel bad for him. Change the laws and move on. Fuck him.
@el_urogallo Did you not read the whole story?
Really though, all non violent drug offenders should be released immediately.
The less time they spend around real criminals, the better. For us and them.
If you think law equates with morality and justice, I know a few countries that you might want to visit.
but those technicalities are found in codified laws (procedural statutes) supported by society, proscribed by society, and constitutionally validated by the same judiciary you refer to. Either you support the law 100% or you can admit that some laws are bad laws. You think the law that lets a murderer go on a technicality is a bad law, because you don't understand the 900 years of so of jurisprudence and case law which have lead to the adoption of those principles of justice. I think a law that routinely over imprisons non violent offenders is a bad law because I have a brain.
You, sir, are full of shit. Felons do NOT get a second chance anymore. They come out of prison to a world of fear and hate. A world of nearly universal background checks for every job. Most people coming out of prison have nothing except the "gate money" some state give them to get to the next town from the prison. This has become a society of labelers, putting everyone into nice little categories. If you fall into the category of felon -- you better learn to be a better thief because nobody is wiling to give a second chance.
you suffer from the illusion that illegal and immoral are equivalent. Most crimes are both but some are only the former. We should only punish for the latter imo
Um I believe that Jesus has a good word in the bible that says love your neighbor and forgive and not judge. Just because his sin wasn't the same as yours doesn't mean he deserves life in prison. Bible also says every sin equals death. All men are equal and no judge is better than any servant and those who keep faith through out life no matter what in repentance and acceptance in Christ shall no man be turned away from by Jesus.
You win the stupidest commenter here award. What a blockhead comment. We don't need people like you. People like you should be put in prioson. Alcohol and tobacco are the real killers. I dislike your attitude more than can be stated here, and you have extreme character flaw.
Firstly, you have no evidence he was selling to kids, you have as much evidence of that as you do the local liquor store is doing the same.
I detect so much crazy coming from you it's not funny. I bet you hear that often. This article is about how non violent offenders are routinely over punished, and this guy is facing life without parole for selling weed, or being with someone selling weed if you believe him. Doesn't matter if you do, how could you say that the time and punishments are too low? how is that even an option? People like you are the reason why America is the laughing stock of the world when it comes to criminal law and justice. I can tell fact checking is a difficult exercise for you, but do a very quick google search for the relationship between incarceration periods and drug offences before you open your mouth and make a fool of yourself the next time. If you were actually concerned for the chiildren of your town you'd advocate for regulation rather than criminalization.
You must be a cop -- or persecutor (spelled the way I mean it). Probably drive drunk from the bar and then put down a guy for smoking some weed. Pull your backwoods ass into the 21st century and look around. Weed is coming in and hopefully, people like you will be going out.