Indescribable Nightmare: El Pasoan Survives Mexican Prison Ordeal After Arrest in Juárez
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Carlos Quijas Jr. was released earlier this month from La Tuna federal prison in Anthony, Texas. (Ruben R Ramirez / El Paso Times)
His smile told a story of happiness, of being in the warmth of his home and in the company of his family.
His words, though, told a different and disturbing story of being arrested in Juárez, of being beaten by Mexican soldiers, of being convicted of drug charges and surviving the Mexican prison system.
Carlos Quijas Jr., who was released earlier this month from La Tuna federal prison in Anthony, Texas, spoke comfortably Thursday in his West Side home about his ordeal that began in December 2009 and ended on March 2 when he walked out a free man from La Tuna.
“It’s indescribable. It’s a feeling I thought I would not get a chance to feel,” he said about being released from prison and about being able to enjoy the little things in life.
“The feeling of being with your family is the most wonderful feeling a man can ever go through,” he said.
His nightmare began on Dec. 18, 2009, when Mexican soldiers arrested him and Shohn Huckabee near the Bridge of the Americas. Both men were charged with possession of 110 pounds of marijuana, a charge they have denied.
Quijas said he was taken naked into a yard; his face was on the ground when a soldier put his boot on his head and emptied his rifle magazine next to his face.
After that incident, he was moved into a room. On the way, he was rifled-butted several times on his back. He said he was forced to sit on a chair. Huckabee sat next to him, and it was first time the two friends could talk to each other.
“I was glad he was alive,” he said.
Quijas said he and Huckabee were paraded for the media and then taken to the federal attorney general’s office.
“I told them (authorities) I knew they were going to kill us. I asked them for one favor — just don’t behead us — it would be embarrassing. If they were going to kill me, kill me but leave me in a place where we would be found,” he said he told Mexican authorities.
He said they responded: “We are not going to kill you anymore.”
You can watch him tell his story here. They’ve edited out the graphic parts of his descriptions of his torture.