- Posted July 17, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
First Person: Your essays
My name is DENNIS LEE WALLING.
At Quito International Airport on 20 April 2014 , Easter Sunday, I was approached by Ecuadorian law enforcement officials at the departure gate of my scheduled flight and was arrested after a suitcase bearing a name tag with my credentials was found containing 3 kilograms of cocaine. I am currently being held and awaiting trial by the Ecuadorian Justice Ministry. The United States Department of State is aware of my case and say it is being monitored very closely. I am told that my name is mentioned daily throughout the Washington, DC office and the United States Embassy in Ecuador.
I AM AN AMERICAN.
From my Father and his fathers before him I inherited a belief in duty, honor, and loyalty. Many generations in my ancestry served in the military. When I came of age and it was my time to serve I chose a different path. Since 1996 I have served my home and my country as a Firefighter and as an Emergency Medical Technician. In my years of service I have brought life into this world and beared witness as life faded away. I have protected homes and property from flame. I have rescued and provided comfort to those in need.
I AM A PATRIOT.
I have always proudly flown and displayed our countries flag. At home, in Kentucky, I fly my American flag from dawn to dusk and salute it with military conduct and precision. I always make sure to properly fold and store my flag. While overseas on contract in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I watched in awe as the 3rd Battalion, 6 Marines saluted my flag above Camp Fallujah on Independence Day and again on the Anniversary of September the 11th in 2008. When I return home I will continue to fly my flag, the flag of my people, the standard of my home.
I AM INNOCENT.
Like many others I was lured to Ecuador under false pretenses. I was flown to Ecuador with the promise of a well paying job so that I could better support my family. At first, it was like a vacation. I explored Quito and took in the local culture. I visited a local fire station close to my hotel and was even allowed to ride with the Chief on emergency calls. A gift from Firefighters whom I had never met, but still called brother. But then I was given a suitcase and a plane ticket to England. It was then that I was set up and made scapegoat to take the fall for an international drug cartel. An unfortunate soul now labeled and chastised as a "mule".
I AM IN DISTRESS.
Every morning I awake to the sound of the Ecuadorian National Anthem and told to salute their flag. Every morning I refuse and instead sing "The Star Spangled Banner" and pledge allegiance to the United States . I believe in and support my government and my country no matter what politician is in office. For nineteen years I have dedicated my time and sacrificed my life, both at home and overseas, to protect it's people from harm. And now I ask my government, my country, and my people for help. Here alone I cannot trust anyone. I receive little assistance and I feel abandoned to fate.
It is my sincere hope that my story will be brought to world view and that action and interventions will be taken. I thank God every day for this opportunity to suffer. I sleep easy at night with the knowledge that those 3 kilograms of cocaine were found and not distributed. I have seen the effects that this drug has on people. In my defense I have a clean history, a respectful reputation, and of strong moral virtue. I have no drug related offenses in my past. Being an EMT I have worked for many years around various narcotics, with easy access, and was never once tempted by deception or greed. I am a God fearing family man, devoted husband, and father of two wonderful boys.
I NEED HELP.
For hundreds of years distress has been indicated by tying a knot in a flag and then flying it upside down. My flag is inverted and I am sending out the distress signal to all who will listen. Please read my story and know the truth, for the truth shall set me free."