My name is Ashley Duval. I was born and raised in the country and always lived on our family farm withmy horses and dogs. Grew up in the fields learning to drive the tractors and trucks with my father Gerald Duval Jr. and brother Jeremy Duval. That is, until the DEA came in and took all of that from me and my family. They seized our family property and took my father and brother away from me for being state legal licensed medical marijuana patients.
In 2008 the state of Michigan Passed the Michigan medical marijuana Act by 64% voters’ approval. In 2009 my father became a state licensed patient due to a long list of medical conditions. He is a double transplant survivor, cardiovascular disease, glaucoma, and neuropathy patient just to name a few. A couple years later my brother became a state licensed patient also.
In 2011 my family and I were victimized by the local drug task force along with the DEA swat teams
kicking through the front door of our home. Destroying every room in the house, verbal threats and
multiple times being raided, they seized all the medicine, the licenses for them, vehicles, cameras, computers, personal medical records and everything else they thought was useful. Walking into my home that was just ransacked by the government was a feeling I will never forget, and wish upon no one! Not only did they do it once, they came back and did the same thing two more times continuing to harass the family. They would drive by daily and helicopters would fly over daily. Thankfully the small dogs were in a crate and my dogs were at my grandparents or I am sure they would have been killed during one of the raids. We have video of the swat team trespassing onto my grand-parents property to exit our home, cutting the chain for the gate and pointing assault rifles at my grandma as she told them not to come onto her property. Months passed with no more raids and then later that fall my father and brother were indicted on multiple drug counts in federal court.
In April 2012 after a two week trial, the jury followed the judge’s instructions and found both guilty on all drug counts. Even with state licenses you’re not allowed to argue your case in federal law, they disregard state laws completely. My family made a decision to take the case to jury trial hoping the jurors could see the truth, instead the truth was hidden from the jury and a picture of a drug operation was painted by the government. We were not allowed to tell our side of the story, and at times we tried we were quickly stopped. My father and brother are fallen victims of the Federal vs. State medical marijuana law battle that still continues today.
After the guilty verdict it was time to start planning for the future without a father or brother in my life.
My dad will not be released until 2022 and my brother will not be released until 2017. The family house that was built by my father was seized and we were forced to leave. The large family farm that my father spent all his life building was sold to pay for attorney fees. Jeremy’s home was part of that sale, forcing him to move in with me while he waited his letter to self-surrender. Not as if taking my family away was enough, but they stole my family’s home, farm and property to sell for profit, to go out and buy more tanks and guns to raid and destroy more families like they did mine.
The government said they would not go after the legal medical marijuana patients or caregivers as long as they were within their limit, that’s a LIE! My family was within the MMMA, the federal judge stated that in court and the lead DEA agent also stated that in court. Still were confused as why my family is sitting in prison for years and many more years to come for something they said we were allowed to do. Now this leaves me alone with my own home, struggling to pay my brothers bills, my family trying to keep sending them money in prison so they can call and talk to us on the phone, or send an email. They ask for a little extra money if the family can send to get some snack food. They tell us often of the food they eat and how they get expired food more than three years passed the expiration date. My father fell very sick just months after he self-surrendered. Seeing a heart specialist for another possible open heart surgery, but the procedure they wanted to do would have caused his transplant kidney to reject and start failing and leading to possible death. He has had many eye hemorrhages since being incarcerated leaving him to see blood clots in his eye till they selfheal weeks later. My father’s health may not hold out for his ten year sentence. He may not be home to see his first grandchild or to walk me down the aisle when I get married. All these things weigh heavily on my shoulders with the question why would the government do this to my family? We did exactly what they said we could do. Now they have taken my family away from me, leaving me to fight for their rights. And that is exactly what I will do! Not stopping when they come home but when the laws change and never let this happen again to other families!
Ashley Duval is the Deputy Director of Sons and Daughters United. She can be contacted here.