In this episode of Real Talk Mr. Julian Morales Interviews Raymond Torres on the top Fathering behind bars.
It is an in-depth look on what he did as a father to have a relationship with his children after getting sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Are letters and phone calls enough to re-kindle everything after being released? Find out here or read the transcripts below on how this story ends.
Speaker 1 (00:10):
Julian Morales (00:42):
Hello everyone. Welcome back to real talk real topics. Today’s episode is going to be a good one. We have a very special guest today. I’m very excited to have this discussion with him on this topic, fathering from behind bars. But before we go to get into our topic, for those of you that don’t know are real talk youth impact program is all about, we are at five Oh one C three nonprofit organization that takes ex offenders like myself. People are willing to share their stories with our troubled teens out here in this community. We also have a parenting class that goes along with it. It’s three classes for child and for parents upon graduation, if the children fit the criteria of a 2.0 grade point average and volunteer hours, we do provide a $150 allowance per month per activity. If funding is available, there obviously is a lot more that goes with real talk.
Julian Morales (01:37):
We also have leadership program and we’re going to have an entrepreneurship program coming up as well together with junior achievement league. But for now we are with real talk real topics. And we’re trying to keep real talk alive, trying to keep our name out on the streets and what we do impactful and relevant to today’s times. So today we have a very special guest. His name is Raymond Torres and Raymond Torres is a Raymond you’re on live with us right now. Raymond is a real talk youth impact member speaker volunteer as well as an award winning author on a book that he wrote called the chauffeur from federal prison to celebrity chauffeur, a tale about second chances. And here he is today. Ray, go ahead and introduce yourself to us. Give us a little background about yourself and why it is that you are with real talk. I want to thank you for having me on the show. Julian, the working, working with you has always been a passion for me, especially growing up as a troubled youth and you know, getting them bald. Of course I was in the prison system for 18 years and that’s where I start getting involved with the programs within the federal prison system. They had youth impact programs. They had one at
Raymond Torres (03:00):
FCI Phoenix. They had, they had one at Atwater. And so that’s when I initially started getting involved and I realized that, you know what these kids need somebody that actually going through or been through the same thing that they’ve been through. And it just, it was a, it’s been a passion in my heart to work with kids. And, you know, once I got released, I was asked if I could get involved in a program called little talks here in Las Vegas by the U S a former U S probation officer. She began a program here in Vegas and when she asked me if I was interested and I, there was no doubt in my mind that that I wanted to be a part of it, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Julian Morales (03:47):
Awesome. Well, thanks. Thanks for being a part of a, something so amazing Ray, you know, I’ve, I’ve taken it, taking it upon myself, my wife and I, to bring you down to El Paso, because the same reason we think it’s an awesome program. It’s, it’s, it’s all about family, not just the youth, you know, in our title, it says youth impact program, but I believe we’re more of a community impact program, family impact program, you know, with what we do with our, what we share with the parents and with the kids now, Ray, getting into today’s topic, which is fathering from behind bars. And the reason, the reason I chose you for this topic or this topic for our conversation is that I know you did a lot of time. You did 18 years. And during your catch, or during the time that you got caught up, you had your oldest son was five years old, and then you had two younger daughters who were four and two now being away for 18 years, right? What, what were the challenges of remaining a good father and remaining in their life and, and, and keeping some kind of consistency through everything that we go through in prison?
Raymond Torres (05:00):
Well, first I think I want to mention the part that when you’re, when you’re involved in criminal activity, you know, you you know, when you’re involved in that type of lifestyle in the back of your mind, you know, that sooner or later, there’s a chance you could either get killed or incarcerated. And when you come into the federal system, those who know about the federal system, you know, they give out long sentences. And you’re either gonna, I always tell people, you’re either going to be training the people that you’re working with in your criminal activity, or you’re going to be trigger family, because that’s the choice you’re going to have to come up with when you’re facing 20 years. And I I’d be trading my family. And it was, it was, it was a very hard pill to swallow. Especially seeing my kids come to visit me at a young age, being in the visiting room where my son wanted me to come home with them, knowing that I’m not coming home him wanting to stay with me.
Raymond Torres (06:07):
So that was a very, very a, that was a lot of things to deal with at the time, especially when I was looking at a sentence of 20 years that being said, you know, it’s an eye opener. You start, you start most people, not all people. Most people tend to put their priorities in order. And they started looking at their whole life. They stepped back and they make changes. And for me, it was immediate. I started writing letters to my kids as much as I could. I, I, I had planned visitations, you know, my sister, which was a big part of it, you know, she would always bring my kids to see me. So, you know, I thank her for that. I would phone calls, you know, there’s limited phone calls. You only get so many minutes per month. I would, I would, I would make phone calls, whatever they needed. I try to provide for them even in prison financially also, but more, more importantly emotionally I was trying to be that voice, you know, I was trying to be that voice to them, and it’s not easy for them because I wasn’t there physically. And it was a lot of challenges.
Julian Morales (07:18):
So, so, so let me ask you this. I know when a lot of us go into prison, cause I’ve, I’ve been to a lot of prisons done a lot of time. There’s a lot of guys that go in there and, and, and women as well, I’ve never been in no female prison, so I won’t speak on that aspect of it, but we go in and we think that it’s easier for us to forget about the outside world right. Than to dentist to stay connected. Right. And it’s, it seems like it’s harder to stay connected to the outside world and it’s easier to forget about it and just stay in Gulfton and in prison, life, prison, politics, and everything that happens. Right. But when we do that, we’re, we’re affecting more people that way, keeping ourselves away from them, because obviously through fathering, from a distance, even through a phone, I feel that that’s better than not having any connection at all. Right. So you saying you had, you know, I know we get 300 minutes a month in the bop to car family, and you prioritizing that now, putting your kids first and your, and, and your family first, did that deteriorate any other relationships that were somewhat hanging onto a string? Cause we all know when you go to prison, everybody falls off on you, but did that kind of shift where you were headed and then did it help you through your prison sentence?
Raymond Torres (08:43):
Well, when I first came into the system, you know, my kids were pretty young. So, you know, at that age they don’t want to be on the phone that long. So I try to talk to them as much as I can. Like you said, the, the relationships when you were here looking at 20 years. Yeah. You’re lucky if you even got family members still hanging on, so the people that are in your circle, they’re falling out one by one and definitely but as far as affecting other relationships, the ones that are going to be there that are going to be, I mean, I was down so long, people dropped out of my life and came back in. So I mean, that just, you know, you know, you’ve been down a long time when that happened, but my, but my priority is my priorities.
Raymond Torres (09:32):
Even though my kid, you know, they, they have a whole different point of view, you know, you know, they may not being there. Of course they’re bitter, they’re angry. Their dad’s not there. My, my oldest daughter, Alexis, and you know what I mean? I have letters from her that, you know, beating them just brings me in tears because she would tell me, I know I have a father that cares about me and loves me and wants to be there, but he can’t be there. It’s heartbreaking, you know, especially when you realize that I messed up, I made a mistake. I made a, I made a mistake. I was a first time nonviolent drug offense. Do I deserve to be synced to 20 years for this first time, nonviolent drug offense. And obviously be the, you know, the government and the laws of the land. And they seem to think that, so, you know, but there is consequences when you don’t think about what they have to say. If you’re going to commit a crime, look it up and figure out how much time you’re going to get, because I’m not saying do it, but at least, you know what you’re getting into.
Julian Morales (10:34):
Yeah. You know, what the, what, what the what,
Raymond Torres (10:37):
Right. Exactly. And a lot of people don’t know that I figured out because I got in trouble. I get five years. No, I never thought I’d get 20 years. I was 26 years old. So getting sentenced to 20 years, 19 years, seven months, it was like a life sentence for me. I lived 26 years.
Julian Morales (10:57):
And, and, and you, you having girls, right? You have two little girls when you went in, how hard was that? When they became teenagers, right. And the visiting where they come in to visit, you mentioned earlier, your sister was a big part of them coming over to see you. So did you have like a faulty relationship with the mother of your children and she wasn’t really trying to cooperate in that sense and your family had a step in how was that whole dynamic?
Raymond Torres (11:25):
I was well, when I got arrested, I was, I was divorced. I have two kids. I have a son and a daughter, Ray jr. Electric from my ex wife. And then I have a daughter Serena from the girlfriend that I was seeing. But I was, I was living, I was living a wild by the cell. At that time I was, I was selfish. I was thinking about me. So it’s understandable that, you know, that, that, that people move on. Okay. I mean, I blame myself cause nobody, nobody put me there by myself. As far as the relationship, everybody was all okay with the kids coming to see me and, and visitations. And everybody, everybody did their part where I was able to see the kids. So I didn’t have any issues about, Oh, you know, me, me being allowed to see my kids. So, so that I thank God for that. That, that was a good thing.
Julian Morales (12:17):
Not, and as they became teenagers, were they coming on their own? Were they asking to come see you? Or was it like the visits became further and far in between,
Raymond Torres (12:27):
You know, it was a bumpy road all the way through. Yeah. There was times where there was, you know, a lot of connection, a lot of love. There was times where my, you know, especially my oldest daughter, she didn’t want to talk to me. You know, they, they had that anger, that bitterness that I wasn’t there, that I wasn’t raising them. There was times where we wouldn’t talk from once. And you know, I, they called every name in the book by her. And, you know, I still love her. She’s my daughter was still bump heads once in a while, but it’s understandable that, you know, there’s frustrations, there’s anger. There’s, you know, there’s bitter bitterness that develops because of knowing that you weren’t, it wasn’t their fault. They didn’t do this. Why did, why should they have to go to this? Why did, why was my father irresponsible?
Raymond Torres (13:13):
Why was my mom making the choices for my life? So these are the things that go to their mind and it’s understandable. And I remember one year, one year I was you know, it was father’s day. So this is they’re older. Now they’re older. They’re able to travel on their own. And it was father’s day with Tomas instead of prison. And I was waiting for a visit and after the day was already over and nobody showed up. So I decided to go to my bunk and my, I had a, my bunkie was speedy from San Diego and I said, you know what? I’m not getting a visit. He’s like, man, just hold on. You’re going to get a visit, man, just relax. I said, nah, I’m not getting a business. So I laid down and it seemed like I laid down for an hour, but I got a phone call from the guard, came in, I’m sorry.
Raymond Torres (14:01):
And woke me up and says they have tours. You got a visit. So I show up to the visiting room and I see my son, you know, Ray and my daughter’s Alexis and Serena under there. I thought I thought my sister bought them. So I’m like, Hey, where’s your aunt. You shouldn’t have bathroom. They’re like, no. So my daughter Lexus arranged everything where she, her and my son took a bus, a Greyhound bus from Las Vegas. And they met up with my other daughter, Serena, who lived in California. And they all visited me on father’s day. And I was like, wow, that was a, that was a, I mean, that was like one of the best fathers days, you know? And that showed me about a love towards my kids. Even though I, you know, I put them through so much. And the thing is, Joe don’t ever give up on your kids, even, you know, I, I don’t agree on everything they say to me or the way we treat each other at times. But at the, of the day I still love them and they’re my kids and I’ll do anything for them.
Julian Morales (14:55):
So, so, so let me ask you this, Raymond now that, that you’ve been out and how long have you been out now?
Raymond Torres (15:01):
I’ve been out. I got released April 5th, 2011. So I’ve been out for a little while now.
Julian Morales (15:08):
Congratulations. Hey, real quick, before I forget, it just popped in my head today is Gordon Walt’s birthday. Happy birthday to our brother.
Raymond Torres (15:17):
Julian Morales (15:18):
Birthday. So let me ask you this right now that you’ve been out this long and you did a whole fathering thing from prison. It sounds like you did a good job. I think what a lot of people don’t understand is, is it, it’s hard to maintain a positive attitude. It’s hard to have that love. When you’re on the phone with your kids after, after being in prison, living in the situations that we’re living in, dealing with the daily, daily drama, daily politics, and watching your bag, be careful where you walk, be careful what you say, you know, dealing with all that and then calling home and you’re in a good mood, but then your, your kid picks up, right. And they’re crying or something’s wrong. And you just had a bad day in prison. Somebody just some really bad just happened. Right.
Raymond Torres (16:09):
Right. If somebody calls somebody,
Julian Morales (16:12):
Yeah. How do you find, how do you find the positivity inside of you to still be a good father? Because there’s difference between you can father, you can try to be a dad, but there’s a difference between being a good dad and a bad dad. How do you find the good advice while you were in there in in dealing with all that man and being incarcerated 18 years, that that man can make a person bitter.
Raymond Torres (16:38):
You know what, there’s, there’s a, you go through all those emotions when you’re, when you’re, when you’re first incarcerated, you’re in denial, there’s anger, there’s rage. You just want to go off. You just want to hurt somebody. You just want to go on a rampage. And then there’s the other little angel on the other side that saying, Ray, you still want to go home. Your kids put your whole life ahead of you. You know, and, and I, I, I credit, you know, I give credit to God for having his hands over me because God put some people in my life that had 300 years that had life sentences that had, that were never getting out. These are the people that were around me in prison. And they used to call me the short time. Yeah. So, so you know that when you put it in that perspective, they’re like, these guys are never going home, never seen any light at all.
Julian Morales (17:29):
For those that don’t know life in federal prison means there’s not 25 and then parole. It means you live in a pine box. That’s what live sentence in federal prison is.
Raymond Torres (17:40):
Right. And so I, you know, when you put things in that perspective when I started realizing that, you know what, I cannot blame anybody for this by myself because I started. And then when I started kind of rationalizing that if I was to be charged for everything I’ve ever done, every criminal activity I’ve ever, I would never be getting out of prison. And I started thinking like, okay, 20 years is a slap on the hand for everything I’ve ever done in my life, I should have never done. And, and that kind of helped me balance things out. And then, but dealing back with the kids I want it to be different. I wanted to learn about being a parent. So luckily there’s some of the institutions that I was at. They had parenting classes, parenting from behind bars. They had mental health classes you know, they had counseling, they had.
Raymond Torres (18:36):
And so some of those, some of those, believe it or not, I was totally against counseling you on the streets. You know, never mind his wife wanted to go to counseling. I’m like, you know, it’s group counseling and I’m not going to let some shrink, but you know what? Now that I went through my incarceration, I actually went through counseling. I took a, a nine month residential drug treatment program. I took our debt. So it helps if you apply it, if you’re not going to apply, if you’re just there going through the emotions, that’s the whole, you know, that’s, that’s just, that’s a whole different story, but I wanted to be a different father. I wanted, I read those books, the five love languages. I mean, I wanted to learn more about being there, being for my kids emotionally and financially and you know, the whole package. So, so I, you know, I did my part as far as trying to learn as much as I can. Am I perfect? No, I’m not. I’m still, you know, I’m still learning.
Julian Morales (19:34):
Yeah. I think we all are as parents, right? There’s no, there’s no manual for, for having a kid. But I think, I think a key part of that is a relationship with your child. Communication. I personally was the shittiest father from prison. I had just gotten custody of my son three weeks before going to prison. And so my mom had him for the two years that I got violated for him, the new charge. And I didn’t call home. I didn’t worry about him. And now that I’ve grown up because, you know, I got incarcerated. I was 17 when the fed started their case on me and they waited until I was 18 to arrest me. Cause you can’t, you can’t get arrested unless you’re 18 by the federal government. Right. And I had got that mentality still of a kid.
Julian Morales (20:22):
And I think people forget that when you get incarcerated, the world stops everything that you were at, whatever trajectory path you were on, it stops. Right? And you go and you get put into this, this, this new society, this new world, and you’re learning and you’re learning to live in there, but you’re not growing up. Like everybody else is on the outside world. You’re not learning your responsibility. You’re not learning, getting your first apartment. You’re not learning what it is to open a bank account, all of these things. Right. So then when you get out, you’re really childish. So when I got out for three weeks and I took custody of him and I went straight back, I totally forgot about him. And I was the most horrible, horrible person for that. So Raymond, now that you’ve been out and you’ve been there physically, and you’ve tried from a distance, would you say that you can still father from a distance successfully or do you think being there physically hands on is definitely, always going to be the best way?
Raymond Torres (21:28):
Well, being there physically is definitely the best way, but, but I’ll tell you what if, if a person’s incarcerated and they made a mistake and they’re willing to turn their life around and be a part of their kids’ lives. I mean, they’ll, they will remember that you were trying to reach out to them, write better as write, write, write, write, write letters, express yourself, communicate because they, at least they have those letters that they will go back and they will read over and read over and read over. And, and just, you know, the thing is, is express that love the love you have towards, even though you don’t agree on everything they’re doing, the hardest part you had mentioned is having daughters, especially having another man raise your daughter. And you don’t know that man, and your daughter could be telling you one thing and that one thing you might, it might anger you.
Raymond Torres (22:25):
And you’re going to do something to somebody, or you’re going to make a phone call and send somebody to go through. And, and, and the thing is, is there’s always two sides of the story. I, of course, you always wanted to send to your kids and you want to make sure you want to follow up, but always do your research because there was times where a couple of things almost happened in my situation where later on down the years later, I found out it was a whole different story. And you’re like, wow, what if I would’ve did something about this? And then that wasn’t even the case. And then there’s times where there were situations, in my case where it was two words, there was things where they’re not getting along and whatever, but always do never act on impulse as well. I’m trying to say because you know, a lot of things can go wrong. But always if something’s happening with your kids and I do follow up, you know, make sure that you know that they’re okay. You want to make sure that they’re in a safe environment. But one of the sad things that I see today is that fathers, fathers who have kids and they’re out here on the street and they have great young kids, whether it’s a son or a daughter. And, but they’re choosing drugs over being with their kids. To me, that is heartbreaking. It’s like, wow. And some of the kids that we be in the programs, I mean, some of these kids are great kids, you know? And you’re like, well, how can you know? And it just, some people that’s, they choose to do that. And it’s sad.
Julian Morales (23:57):
So, so now that now that you’re home and and you’ve been out and you’ve been getting back to life, getting back to your kids, getting back, obviously they’re older now you mentioned, you mentioned your grandfather, so are you making up? Cause we can never make up for lost time. That’s one thing I think, I think we think as, as inmates, when we get out, like I’m going to hit it hard, cause I’m gonna make up for everything you can never make up for. What’s gone is gone and what’s in the past is in the past and no longer exists out there. You can never go back there, but with your grandchildren now, are you doing everything you wished and now that you learned and you’ve become a man, right? A real man, Indian you’ve, you’ve, you’ve experienced everything. Are you taking advantage of your grandkids and being the bad grandpa and being the kind of grandpa that you wish you could have been father?
Raymond Torres (24:52):
I would like to believe so, you know, when it comes to, when it comes to my kids, you know, I guess that I have a, my son, Ray is he’s 30. Alexis is 29 and Serena is 0.7 and I have seven granddaughters, seven, nine. I am blessed. I am blessed when I take them with me. It, you know, I look back and I thank God because I do whatever they want to do. I do. I’m like, you know, what, what do you guys want to do? Let’s go somewhere. Let’s plan something. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it don’t, but I, I try to put them first. And that’s, I guess I’m on a work detail where I have to reschedule something, but I always try to put them first. I have a grandson also Damian and you know what, to me, it’s, they, they are my priority.
Raymond Torres (25:45):
My kids are my priority. Also they’re adults though. You know, a lot of times, you know, they’re doing their own thing, but whenever I have an opportunity to spend time with my grandkids, I, I jump on it. And let me mention one thing. When I, when I first came home, you know, transitioning and facing your children after all those years that you were away, it is hard. My son, he was, he wasn’t on the best path that he could have been. He was making a lot of mistakes. I was making mistakes as far as not knowing how to handle this new relationship and trying to make it better. But I never verbally abused him saying, yo, you need to do this. You need to do that. I tried to lead by example. So when I, when I was released from prison, I was starting over, you know, I, you know, I was in my forties, sleeping on the couch at my mom’s house, but, you know, but you know what it was I was happy to be free.
Raymond Torres (26:47):
I had no problem transitioning into society. I started working quick. I started working on luxury transportation company and my son, he, I would like to believe he, he saw my actions. He didn’t see my words. He see my actions. And then one day he came up and he came to me and he says, dad, can you get me a job? I says, I only get you a job is if you’re serious. And if you’re gonna really, you know, give it 100% and I got him a job anyway, he’s been there ever since he became manager and he’s doing good. Yeah. I mean, so the thing is, is I, you know, we can, we can tell our kids what to do, or we can show them what to do as far as being a leader. And I told her to lead by example and, and I’m still, you know, I’m still taking classes, I’m still learning.
Raymond Torres (27:39):
I’m still, there’s so much, there’s so much in life that a lot of people don’t understand. Once, once you get your life back, your freedom back from being sent the 235 months for me, I can’t speak for everybody else. It was like, you know what? Okay, the sky is the limit. Now let me, let me live life to the fullest the right way. Drug-Free crime-free. And let me make, now I know that, okay, we’re all here for reasons that they may live. Let me walk that road, that path, that God put me here for, to change lives. And they must have I’m changing lives to make their main reason it happened, but you wouldn’t let me do it in a positive way. And and so for me, it’s like I tried to do, but, you know, sometimes I read a little tune up and I know I need to get back on track, but and God reminds me every once in a while, but, but, you know, but the thing is, is that we’re leaders in the eyes of our kids and our grandkids and our community and those around us. And, you know, there is that light shining in darkness. And so, so, you know, I, I try to be that light amongst my, my kids and my grandkids.
Julian Morales (28:52):
Now, what do you think are the effects? Cause you’ve seen it firsthand, right? Father absence when, when a father is not around in the home you know, we talked about you being a part of your child’s life, you know, through the phone, two visits, but what effects did you see they had from you being absent as far as physically being there at home? Because it’s different. You know what, when we’re in prison, we think our family just goes to school and work and home and then the tear. Right. And then once we get out, cause we’re like, man, I couldn’t have him wrote me a letter. It’s not that hard to write me a letter. It’s not that hard to go put money in the account, but then once you get out and then we stopped living the way we did before and now we’re living like our wives and our friends responsibly do know, going to work.
Julian Morales (29:41):
And then we don’t have time to write somebody a letter or send somebody a bank, a bank note to go put some money on their account. Right. So then you realize, you realize, man, at least I did was like, I can only imagine what all my mom and my sister were going through while I was in there just chilling and playing handball, lifting weights, smashing on fools and smoking joints and doing, you know, doing, doing prison life. And they’re out here doing real life. Right. It’s a whole lot different picking up the phone 15 minutes than being there at home when they get home. Right. So what were the effects that you saw firsthand from your absence in the home, from your, from your kids?
Raymond Torres (30:24):
Well good of course. You know, when, when you’re being raised by, by one parent you know, kids tend to get into mischief and you know, they don’t, and when it comes to schooling, when it comes to education and all that stuff starts drifting. So I see that, you know, there was an issue there that when you got one parent that’s working to provide for the kids, there’s no time for, you know, there’s not much time to, to sit down and help them do their homework. And I take my hat off to the, to the women that I do because I know women that do that. And I, you know, I give them props for that. I give the men that are single fathers that go there, work their butt off all day and they come home. They spend time with their kid and they sit down, they do homework with them. But, but there is, there is a difference as far as the father not being there and you know, the kids, they tend to talk back and because there’s not that father figure that there’s the mother, the mother could still, you know, put the smack down with the junk level.
Julian Morales (31:22):
Raymond Torres (31:23):
It’s different when you got the father there and being that leader and having that stern voice and being, and being like, no, this is what it is. Don’t, you know, you’re not going to be the disrespect in your mom. So, so I do, I do see a difference, but so it is important that both parents, so that even though, even if the man and the woman are not together, it’s still important that both parents are a part of the lives reason. And because it does affect the kids’ lives and I’ve seen it firsthand. You know, I’ve seen it growing up. I mean, my parents were both there physically, but for me, they weren’t there emotionally. And I love my parents. And then my dad passed away when I was incarcerated in 19, when I was in FCI Phoenix. My mom’s still alive. She’s here in Vegas and I love her to death, but these are things that parents make mistakes, you know, they’re, you know, they don’t, there is no manual telling you how to raise a kid. So everybody’s learning on their own as they’re going along. And I don’t blame anybody for my past or for how I was raised. I think it all happens for a reason.
Julian Morales (32:29):
So now now to get into some more juicy or stuff, right, you said you got arrested at 26, right. And what was your life before six? Were you, were you involved into the street life and all that? And don’t get into too much detail. We’re going to talk about your book. And I know that a lot of this stuff is on your book, so I don’t want you to disclose too much, but kind of just give us a little, a little overview about, you know, how you were raised. Were your parents first generation American where they were, are they from Mexico? Are they from
Raymond Torres (33:03):
So third, third generation, third generation. Yeah. So, yeah, so yeah, so yeah, my, my parents both Manish English. My father was born in Los Angeles. He grew up in El Monte. My that’s where he met my mom. So and then you know, my grandparents were born in the U S and then my great grandparents on my dad’s side, they were born in Mexico. So, so yeah, so I’m I’m, I’m a watered down Mexican so hard.
Julian Morales (33:36):
Yeah. Nothing wrong with that. And, and you grew up in LA and in, in the Las Vegas area as well. Right.
Raymond Torres (33:43):
So I grew up in, so I grew up in the Harbor area of Wilmington when I was younger. I lived in San Pedro also. I lived in Gardena when I was a young kid. And then at the age of you know, back and forth my whole life, we always been back and forth to Las Vegas, but honestly, most of my life I’ve been in Las Vegas.
Julian Morales (34:03):
And, and when, when you got arrested and you got the 18 years, right. Or 200 and something months, what were the charges? What led up to it? How did you get there and find yourself in that situation?
Raymond Torres (34:17):
So I was I was involved in drug trafficking. So I was, I started selling drugs when I was a buddy at 16 years old. I got arrested when I was 26. So I had like a tenure run. I got, I got arrested for conspiracy to possess with intent, to distribute 110 pounds of cocaine and and possession with intent to distribute. So that’s 50 kilos of cocaine. So I was trying to trade I had $2 million worth of stolen artwork that belonged to Las Vegas, entertainer, Wayne Newton. And I tried to trade it for 50 kilos of cocaine and I was sentenced to 235 months for a time nonviolent drug offense.
Julian Morales (35:04):
And, and, and their stuff was stolen from Wayne Newton’s home. Or it was like,
Raymond Torres (35:10):
How about, how about we let them read the book if they want,
Julian Morales (35:14):
There you go.
Raymond Torres (35:16):
Like new, like new dog said the game is to be sold.
Julian Morales (35:19):
Yeah. So those of you that are interested in hearing more about Ray’s story and I’m picking up his book, Ray, I’ve dropped up the link on the comments section on the bottom here, where they can find your book. But if you can go ahead and tell us now where they can find it, the title of it and all that good.
Raymond Torres (35:38):
So the title of it’s called the chauffeur from federal prison to celebrity chauffeur, a true life tale about second chances is my autobiography. I’ll give you a little synopsis about it. Growing up in the streets kicked out when I was 16 years old, getting involved in gang banging and drug trafficking and how it escalated, and then how I trans transitioned to Las Vegas. And I started working with some pretty big people in Mexico. And then when he, how it all came, crashing down on my wrist and then the transition as far as being a different person looking at life in a whole different way and how I became a successful VIP and celebrity chauffer, while I, while I transport some of the richest people in the world. And and it’s definitely a blessing. You can get it on. You can get on Amazon, it’s on Barnes and Nobles. If you Google Raymond Torres, the chauffeur it’ll come up and you can purchase it. And part of the proceeds, I’ll let you cut in on that one. Julian, the, some, some of the proceeds go to bill talk if you want to follow up.
Julian Morales (36:43):
Yeah. So if you guys can go through Amazon smiles, when you’re shopping for the book, look up real, talk to youth impact program. If you’re out in Nevada, look up the Las Vegas chapter. If you’re out in Texas, anywhere else, look up real talk, you the impact program EAP, and then you purchase the book. And then part of that purchase comes back to the kids. That real talk. So you’re helping two causes at one time. Now, Ray, how long did it take you to write this book? What inspired you to write it? And then what, like what made you want to do it and put your, put your business out there?
Raymond Torres (37:17):
Well, the w w while I was incarcerated, I was working with kids already. So I had mentioned before, and so I wanted to, I always kept a journal in prison. And then when I took the, we took the the drug treatment program. They make you write a journal, you know, kind of like a chronological journal, butcher, you know, a bunch of life. So I started writing them and then I kept writing it after I finished the program. And I’m like, wait a minute. This is sorry. I would read through it every once in a while, I would add things. And then, so I talking to these kids, I seen how effective it was in the prison system. So I wanted out of it, it crossed my mind, how can I share my story? Among people, whoever wants to read it, whoever’s interested.
Raymond Torres (38:05):
How can I change lives? Instead of just speaking in front of small groups. So I decided to write a book and he says, well, this could go worldwide. I can help people out. And, you know, I did because, you know, people that are living that same lifestyle, that, that are straddling the fence, that maybe this was, you know, maybe open up their eyes and show them the effects that, you know, the harsh realities of what you go through when you’re making bad choices. So so I had my journal already, when I got released in 2002, April thousand 11, I had the journal, my journal and all my notes and everything. So when I got a job in a luxury transportation company there was a lot of downtime. So when you’re on a work detail, sometimes you’re sitting for five hours, 10 hours, and a client has you, they may, they may have you for a whole week.
Raymond Torres (38:52):
So I will bring my laptop to work. I bring my note and I would just start writing them, writing, you know, writing. And I, it took me four years to put it together. And so once I, once I had an editor go through it, and then I submitted it for publication and and it’s you know one award international Latino book award, I’m actually getting ready to revamp the whole book to cover because I have a documentary that I’m working on, I’m going to be releasing. So I’m just trying to get the whole package together and possibly talks about putting a movie together. So let’s do it
Julian Morales (39:27):
Well, congratulations on all of that. And thanks for being a part of real talk, doing what you’re doing. I’ve been over there twice. I think one of the times you spoke or think twice you spoke and your story is very impactful. These kids listen, when you speak. And what you had to share is very deep. So for those of you that want to keep getting information on Ray all his toes, you’re on the bottom, you can find them at King towers entertainment on YouTube, where he has some videos as well. He also has some show for videos of themselves as he’s going to pick people up. And and he has some pretty good good stuff on there. Where are you going with that? With that show Ray at your you’re uploading from time to time,
Raymond Torres (40:10):
So that that’s a documentary that I’m working on a VIP show for. So it’s it’s something I want to eventually submit to Netflix or another network. So that’s something I’m working on. And then of course, I’m going to do a documentary about the book. You know, that’s a separate one, or it might be a four part series with the VIP show for the growing up as a troubled youth. And then the via, you know, there’s, there’s a, there’s a few things down I’m still juggling right now to see which way I’m going to go with it, but it might be a four part series documentary if I ended up doing it that way.
Julian Morales (40:47):
Nice, nice. So now that, now that we got you on here we’re going to do another series. We’re gonna, we’re going to have Gordon myself and Ray here, and we’re going to get into some more real topics more issues. And we’re bring our halo back as well. We all work together with real talk and we all just want to keep doing what we’re doing, spreading the word and sharing our stories and hopes that it could change somebody’s life. I always get asked, you know, why, why do you share, or, you know, why, why are y’all doing that? And it, you know, and Austin security it’s so that someone can hear it and connect with it and maybe change direction in their life. And and just make the world a better place through, through everything we’ve been through all the ugly, all the good and and just put it out there so people can listen.
Julian Morales (41:36):
And, you know, a lot of men, a lot of men that are doing well. Well, we used to do living that lifestyle. I know it’s hard for them to, to talk about things that you’re going, man, there there’s so much to the underworld that I think can be very Swift psychiatry and psychology, right? We, we go around and we were traumatized. You know, we, we go through traumatizing experiences. We cause harm to others, others cause harm to us all while we’re in the streets and we don’t have anyone to talk to. And it’s, it’s not cool to talk about it. You know, full disclosure, we had done some stuff one day, it popped my cherry for that activity. And I was messed up for about a week and I, I didn’t know how to process what I was feeling and what I was going through.
Julian Morales (42:29):
And then I couldn’t talk to anybody about it because how are you going to come to your homeboys and be like, I just did some ruthless stuff last weekend and yo, I can’t sleep for a week. What’s going on, what’s happening. So then what ends up happening? Is it festers inside of you? And then he just started doing drugs and started doing more stuff to forget about that last thing, right? Then you’re doing another thing and then that’s causing more trauma. So it’s hard to, to deal with with that lifestyle and everything that comes with it, for those of you that aren’t involved in that lifestyle and never have stepped foot in it. And what you see on the movies is just the, the top layer of, of what really happens because this is what’s affecting our community right now. This is what’s affecting our kids is all this secondary trauma that they see people getting shot.
Julian Morales (43:20):
People getting jumped, people, getting robbed, people getting mugged, and it affects them. And then they ended up becoming the aggressor later. And so these are all the kinds of topics we’re going to be getting into. I wanted to give Raymond an opportunity today to kind of introduce himself. You guys get a feel for, for what kind of person he is, what brings him to real talk. What made him write his book? Check out his book. I read some of it last night. Very, very interesting. I mean, just like you said, out the gate stolen art with Wayne Newton, cocaine, 18 years in prison. The street life, all of this is in this book. Very good story. Check it out on Amazon or Barnes and Nobles. I read the Barnes and noble review. It’s very good. I’m following him on IgG and on Facebook. Raymond Torres, LV like Las Vegas and then on YouTube King towers entertainment. And you can purchase this book once again on Amazon Ray, any last words you want to leave? Anybody that’s listening to, any words of encouragement, positivity, words of wisdom. Anything you want to say? You got about three minutes. Go ahead.
Raymond Torres (44:33):
Yeah. I just want to say, you know, those who are raising kids and I know it’s not easy. I mentioned before the fathers, single fathers, single mothers, even, even co-parenting spend time with your kids, listen to them. Don’t just talk to them. But, but, but genuinely listen to them because you know, we are, we’re molding our future. You know, like I always say that the Apple don’t fall too far from the tree. Sometimes we got to check ourselves, we’ve got to check ourselves and see what we’re doing because the kids are not listening to us verbally. They’re this, they’re watching it. They’re watching what we do. And I think if if we sit down and we actually listen to them to see what they have to say, and yet kids are going to act up and sometimes they have their own ways and yes, they need discipline at times, but sometimes the parents need discipline at times.
Raymond Torres (45:32):
Sometimes we get a little crazy too. And, and I think you know, the thing is, is that we’re not promised tomorrow. So if you guys, if you have kids in your life, kids love your parents. We’re not promised tomorrow when you lose a parent, especially if you’re incarcerated, when you lose a parent, you don’t think about, well, it depends on let me rephrase that. It depends on how they treated you though. I didn’t think about the bad times that he that me and my father went through. I thought about losing him as a person. So if you got an opportunity to spend time with your family members, your loved ones, tell them you express to them that you care about them, that you love them. And most of all show it and yeah. And communicate. And I think that I think that, that, that opened up doors to to a better relationship.
Julian Morales (46:25):
Nice. Yeah. Cause that’s, that’s what it’s about is relationships, honesty, truth, and communication, I think is is a key part to having a successful family unit, having a successful relationship with anyone, but most importantly, with your wife and kids, right. Cause that’s our, that’s our first immediate Raymond, thank you for coming on. I really appreciate you being on today. Sharing with us and just opening up and talking about this, our next topic is going to be good. We’re going to have Gordon and and hopefully there’ll Haley on with us. And we’re all going to come up, come up with a good topic to, to really go in and just bring light to, to exit mates. People coming back into the streets. If you have a family’s family member out there, that’s incarcerated, you just heard what Raymond said. And and I take part of his story.
Julian Morales (47:19):
And if, if, if you know someone that’s in there and they’re having a hard time getting to their kids, and you’re a relative, you’re an aunt and your cousin and you can make it happen. Step up. It takes a village man, make that work Mendel’s relationships. Once again, you know, Ray talked about his first, first offense, he got 20 years mandatory minimums. You guys check out fam F a M M families against mandatory minimums. That crime bill that was written in 93 94 is instituted these mandatory minimums, a point system that is very unfair, very unjust in our supposedly justice system. So let’s check that out. F a M m.org families against mandatory minimums. If you guys know someone that’s incarcerated, a female, a male, they need help seeing their kids establishing that relationship. And you’re aware of this and you can make a difference step in intervene.
Julian Morales (48:15):
And let’s start mending these relationships. There’s 2.2 million Americans incarcerated. You guys. There’s so many fatherless and motherless kids out here on these streets, you know, and let’s step our game up as a community. Raymond and I were talking the other day about putting something together for Christmas, for inmates. And we’ll have more on that coming towards August where we’re gonna really try to put them together to help the families of the inmates that are incarcerated and getting them together with angel tree. That’s the name of the organization, Raymond. And what they do is they take families of the incarcerated and they send them Christmas gifts and make Christmas special for those kids that are without their parents. That those parents that are behind bars. And as Raymond was talking about it, I’m like, you know what? I used that program one time out of a Kansas, I was locked up in Kansas state and they actually sent my son a gift.
Julian Morales (49:12):
So yeah, no better way to give back, stay tuned for that. And as always, I’ll leave you guys with my three sayings, love your neighbor. As you love yourself, be kind to one another to pray for our country, pray for our children right now, there is a war going on out there with our kids and, and, and you guys, the purest thing on this earth is a child. That’s the purest thing you’ll find on this earth is, is a baby. And when you come after that, you’re coming after something that is pure and then touch. We need to protect our children from all these things going on. So pray for him, pray for our country, pray for our children. And as always, like Raymond said, and I always say, love your children. That doesn’t mean going buy them. Jordan’s the next box in PlayStation. And McDonald’s, it means give them discipline, give them structure, guide them in their way and give them the tools that they need to be successful.
Julian Morales (50:16):
Young men, young women, and allow them to hate you at times because you’re doing your job. That means that you’re loving them. That’s what, that’s what I mean. When I say show your kids, you love them. Allow them to be upset with you. That means you’re doing your job. You hate your boss at work. Why? Because they’re telling you what to do and you know, they’re right. But you don’t want to do it. Same thing with their kids allow them to hate you. It’s okay. It’s okay. Just don’t stop. Loving me, Raymond. Thank you for being on. Thank y’all for real talk real topics. Y’all stay tuned for the next one. Have a good one.