From the June 2008 Idaho Observer:


Itís not what you did or didnít do, its who you knowófor better or worse

David Correa is serving a life sentence in a Federal Prison for unknowingly befriending the head of a well known "Crime Family" from Altoona, PA. He is now in his 18th year in prison for crimes he never committed.

David and his parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba when he was 9 years old in search of a better life in a free country. David and his family lived in Hoboken, NJ, where he eventually graduated from high school at the top of his class and was elected to the High Schoolís Honor Society. He continued his education at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and graduated with a degree in Engineering in 1975.

During his second year of college, David married his first wife. He worked several jobs, continued his college education and obtained a pilotís license. David was offered a job at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 1975 and worked there as an engineer with a TOP SECRET security clearance from 1975 to 1985.

After leaving NASA in good standing to become a commercial airline pilot, David worked for Eastern Airlines as a First Officer on board of a 727-200 until the time of his arrest on November 15, 1989.

While working for NASA, David also established several businesses on his own. One business was called "The Gun Shop." Being a collector of antique and classic guns, David was federally licensed to possess, manufacture, buy, sell and transfer Class Three weapons which included legally registered machine guns, silencers, and many other types of weapons. David was also licensed to sell what would be included as accessories normally found at any gun shop.

Another business David established was called "Spaceport Aircraft Sales, Inc." As a part of this business, David bought, sold, leased and gave instructions on both fixed wing and rotor type aircraft.

In 1985, David was at Daytona Beach for Motorcycle (BIKE) Week. David was interested in motorcycles and fast cars. While in Daytona, he started a conversation about motorcycles with someone who started telling him about the "Clubs" that he owned in Altoona, PA. One of them was the "Motorcycle Club". He also talked about an after hours club called, "The Sunken Ship", a limousine service, by the name of "Topasz" and an agency for Exotic Dancers. David, being recently divorced after 10 years of marriage, wanted to have some fun in his life with the guys he had recently met.

Because of Davidís interest in riding motorcycles, David would travel from Florida to Altoona, PA about once a month where he would ride motorcycles, socialize, and party with these people and their circle of friends. After some time with these people and seeing their actions with their business, David discovered that everything these people were doing was a front for the "Family" business of buying, selling, and distributing drugs; selling of weapons was also part of their business. The clubs they owned were nothing more than a front for the "Altoona Crime Familyís" drug and prostitution ring.

Then, one of his leased planes crashed and his second wife abandoned him, taking $300,000 from the aircraft business account, leaving David in financial peril. Out of desperation, David approached the head of the crime family for a loan of approximately $80,000. The loan was granted and certain documents were held by the Family as collateral. The loan was used by the "Family" to muscle into Davidís aircraft and gun shop businesses.

The Family now began visiting David at his house in Florida. On one visit, they left 495 grams of cocaine and some drug paraphernalia. Though, admittedly, David borrowed money from the Family, he was still a pilot for Eastern Airlines and wanted nothing to do with its criminal enterprises.

David had not been to Altoona for some time when he found out that the head of the Family and one of his brothers were serving extensive prison sentences for crimes related to the family business (drugs, prostitution and firearms). One of the other brothers started pressing David for the $80,000 loan and he wanted the 495 grams that had been left at Davidís house a year and a half earlier. This would be the only way David could retrieve his collateralized documents.

After several months of threats by the "Second in Command," David agreed to return the 495 grams of cocaine and sell merchandise from his business to repay the loan with interest as originally agreed upon in exchange for his documents.

The Family called Davidís house in Florida and left a message on the answering machine, to call him back. On November 10, 1989 the "Second in Command" once again called Davidís house to tell him he had "found" the documents. Unknowingly, calls to Davidís house were now being recorded by government informers who were members and friends of the Family. They were trying to entrap David into bringing the cocaine to Altoona. During a phone conversation with one of the brothers, David was asked to use one of his planes to fly up the 495 grams of cocaine, and in turn he could pick up the documents and be on his way, which he refused to do because he would never jeopardize his career or his license for anything or anyone.

The "leader" of the Family and another brother of the infamous "Altoona Crime Family" knew the inner-workings of the law very well, so when they were convicted and serving time for their numerous crimes, they told the federal government that David was the "king pin." David, suddenly and unwittingly, was the fall-guy for the infamous "Altoona Crime Family."

Since they had now named David Correa as the ("King Pin,") and the source of their drugs and weapons, the Family worked out deals with the Federal Government to have their sentences drastically reduced. They were told that if they became "Confidential Informers" (C.I.) and testify that David Correa was actually the supplier of their drugs and weapons, that the Family leaderís sentence of 22 years would be drastically reduced to 54 months, and his brotherís sentence would also be reduced..

The Family presented the government with three kilos of cocaine that David allegedly fronted the convicted leader over a year and a half earlier. The government submitted the packages for testing which revealed that the substance was cocaine. However when the containers were tested for fingerprints, none of the fingerprints on any of the packages matched Davidís.

Testifying under a grant of immunity, several witnesses (C.I.) testified that they had NEVER purchased drugs or firearms from David Correa. They further stated that they had NEVER seen David with drugs, or seen David take or ingest drugs. However, the Crime Familyís leader was known to most people as the leading cocaine dealer in the Altoona area.

It should also be noted that when search warrants were executed upon Davidís places of business and his home in Florida, there were no quantities of drugs, illegal weapons or explosives found.

From the three packages, the government extracted a small amount of cocaine, mixed it with a cutting agent and wrapped the drug mixture in new packages. The plan was that this bagónot the documentsówould be presented to David by the government agent on November 15, 1989. David drove his car from Florida to Altoona to pick up his documents and return the requested (495) grams of cocaine left at his house many months earlier.

During Davidís trial, when the "agent" was questioned in court under oath, the undercover agent testified that he handed the "bag" to David. He further testified that he made reference to the bagís contents, using words, "kilos" and "cocaine." (Since this meeting was to be a "sting operation" the office was fixed with a tape recorder. When the tape recordings were presented as evidence in court they never revealed any words such as "kilo, drugs, or cocaine" being said by anyone. Though the evidence shows that David never touched the "brown paper bag" that the agent had placed on the table, nor did he ever attempt to open it. Within minutes David was arrested at the "Motorcycle Club" in Altoona, PA, on November 15, 1989.

At Davidís trial, the government agents could not produce the "brown paper bag" which would have provided exculpatory evidence showing that David never touched the bag.

All bags, wrappings, and covers were all carefully tagged, checked for fingerprints and carefully stored and preserved for evidence, except for the "brown paper bag" that conveniently disappeared. This bag would have proven that the undercover agent never gave David the brown paper bag as Davidís fingerprints would not be found on it. Without it, there was no evidence.

David admits that he made some bad decisions which placed him in his present situation. But, guilt or innocence aside, he is a first time, non-violent offender who was sentenced to life in prison. The Altoona Crime Family, on the other hand, was notorious for its violence and having numerous prior convictions for serious crimes among most family membersócrimes which have been reportedly ongoing to present.

The Family "leaderís" sentence of 22 years was reduced to 54 months as promised and other Family members received extreme sentence reductions for helping to convict David.

With your support, there is hope. Please write letters to the President of the United States stating that you support a sentence reduction (commutation) for a Federal Prisoner, David Correa - 03726-068., FCC USP1, P.O. Box 1033, Unit E, Coleman, FL 33521-1033. If you are kind enough to write a letter in support of David, please send him a copy so he knows he is supported by all the good people in the United States.

Over the years, his family and friends and numerous organizations have written to and continue to write to the President, asking that Davidís sentence be commuted. Additionally, you can write to your Senators, Congress-Person, and local politicians to request their support in this matter. See Davidís daughterís letter to the president at http://myspace.com/correadavid. There is also a letter that you can use to send to President Bush.

For further reference you can visit Davidís web-site at http://helpsavedave.com .