Mauricio Cristo: cocaine trafficking, 7 years, the wrong crowd…
Mauricio was born in Columbia, his parents emigrated to the UK when he was born, and he was brought up by his grandparents. When his father returned he saw him for just a week before he died of cancer. His brother and he then returned with his mother to the UK in 1983, and went to primary school in Chelsea, not speaking any English.
At about 15 he started getting involved with the wrong crowd, smoking cannabis to start with, and then class A’s, cocaine and crack as well. Then he got involved in selling cannabis at school to supply his need, but as years went on he got more involved in the class A’s. At 17 he went back to Columbia, and met some people, and that’s where it all started. They put money on the table to bring drugs back to the UK by swallowing them, it was easy and good money for a 17 year old, and seemed nice.
So Mauricio got more involved amongst the sort of circles that were shifting drugs. He had a bit of money, was always out partying, drinking and taking drugs all the time. It seemed a great lifestyle to live.
At 18 he went to America and was selling crack, but smoking the profit, and consuming was beginning to take over, but he managed to get out of that and returned to Columbia and the same deal began over again – getting involved with traffickers.
When he was 20 years old he got caught, and received a seven year sentence at the age for drug trafficking. When moved from Feltham to the Vern, he was one of the first to get involved in a Christian program called Kairos. Once in prison, he thought, “Do I do the same thing, just carry on? Or try and give my life a change?” On reflection he considers prison a blessing, cos death or more years could have been his if he stayed unstopped longer.
Kairos really marked his life, the main thing being he received Jesus into his life. When he finished his sentence at Hollersly Bay in Suffolk he stayed in Ipswich, to avoid going back to London and getting tempted back into the same environment. His girlfriend stood by him, and the Lord blessed him (as he sees it now) with three wonderful children. The drug craving was still there though, and still using sometimes, and he was gradually going back into that lifestyle without realising the hurt that he was causing his partner.
He moved back into London in 2004, and though living in East London, he was always down Brixton because his partners parents lived here, and bumping into a lot of people from back in the days, and all the temptations that were put in front of him, got him gradually into his old ways, consuming a lot of class A’s.
Returning to Columbia with his family, things kept going in this way, and in 2006 his partner said, “I can’t take this no more, I can’t live this way…”, even though he thought he was giving her the life, but she couldn’t take it so took the kids and went back to England. At this point he thought, “Well, what else can I fight for?” So he just went back to his old ways altogether, but after two or three months, he thought, “This isn’t what I want to go back to, or how I want to be living…”
Through a friend there who was involved with a church, and going along there he had a new encounter with God, and this time he just gave it all to God, cos he knew he do it himself, and since then God has given him the strength not to look back. Since then he’s restored his life, his partner – now they’re married. While in Columbia God was preparing him for coming back into this same environment in London.
He sees that God’s hand has been active over his life, and has preserved his life from situations where his life could have been taken away. That God has bigger things for our lives than simply the darkness we lived in rather to be a light in the midst of the darkness.