• Donald V. Watkins

God’s Miracles Along the Journey to FCI La Tuna

Updated: Mar 21

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on March 18, 2021


On Friday morning, March 5, 2021, I departed the Federal Transfer Center (FTC) at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. My next destination on my prison transfer trip that originated at FCI Talladega was FCI La Tuna on Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas. The prison is 25 miles south of Las Cruces, New Mexico.


My arrival at La Tuna fulfilled FCI Talladega Warden Cheron Y. Nash’s March 2020 pledge that she would send inmates who crossed her so far that their families would not be able to find them. As fate would have it, I had crossed Nash by filing what I thought was a “confidential” whistleblower complaint on January 27, 2020 that reported a widespread cesspool of public corruption at FCI Talladega’s Camp and a contraband trafficking ring that operated out of the Warden’s Office and Special Investigations Unit. My complaint was filed with the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).


After Nash discovered my OIG complaint, her retaliation was immediate, harsh and unrelenting. She and her staff devised a plan to get me out of FCI Talladega and do it in a way that was certain to expose me to bodily harm and/or death. They made sure my transfer to another prison would include holding me in the “Hole” at three prisons for a total of 23 to 24 hours per day for 10 months.


The First Miracle


My journey from FCI Talladega to FCI La Tuna was filled with miracles from God. At 72-years-old, my U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Health Services records confirmed in April 2020 that I suffered from some of the serious underlying health conditions identified by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) as risk factors for death in the event I contracted COVID-19. The BOP records also place me in the highest at-risk group for the disease based upon the CDC’s criteria. Yet, Nash placed me in a filthy cell in the “Hole” at FCI Talladega where I had direct exposure to concentrated black mold on the inside and outside of the only air vent in my cell, lead poisoning in the water supply, and COVID-19 from other inmates.


God’s first miracle on my journey to La Tuna allowed me to make it out of FCI Talladega’s “Hole” alive after spending 6 months in this toxic and extremely dangerous environment in a cell where social distancing with my cellmate was impossible. (For the record, one of my cellmates in the “Hole” made the trip from FCI Talladega to La Tuna in September 2020 in a couple of days.)


The Second Miracle


During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and at a time when the CDC was advising Americans against Thanksgiving holiday travel, Nash and her BOP cohorts first transferred me to the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta. I arrived on November 28, 2020 and stayed in a cold and filthy “Holdover" cell until January 26, 2021.


I wrote about this experience in a January 31, 2021 article titled, “The Miracle at USP Atlanta”. Nash and her cohorts “parked” me at the Atlanta penitentiary with the expectation that their “whistleblower" problem would be eliminated by inmate Orderlies who were awaiting trial on federal racketeering charges that included murder, attempted murder, robbery, extortion, drug dealing, witness tampering, retaliation against witnesses, and obstruction of justice – criminal activities that the DOJ says was orchestrated from their prison cells. One of these Orderlies was convicted in 2018 on multiple counts of murder


My “people skills” and genuine concern for humanity allowed me to neutralize this threat to my safety and security at USP Atlanta.


Once again, God allowed me to make it out of the “Hole” alive. I next departed USP Atlanta on January 26, 2021 for FTC Oklahoma City.


The Third and Fourth Miracles


During my stay at FTC Oklahoma City from January 26 to March 5, 2021, I was confined to a “Holdover” cell for more than 23 hours per day. I had two cellmates throughout this period of confinement.


My first cellmate was James. For medical privacy reasons, I am withholding James’ last name. He was being transferred from FCI Manchester, Kentucky to FCI Leavenworth, Kansas. While James was in Manchester’s “Hole” awaiting his transfer to Leavenworth, he contracted a confirmed case of COVID-19 and experienced many of the symptoms of this disease (e.g. headaches, loss of smell and taste, fever, chest pains, non-productive coughing, etc.). Yet, James, 29, was placed in transit and ended up as my assigned cellmate in Oklahoma.


It was impossible for James and me to engage in social distancing. Two nights before James departed for Leavenworth on February 10, 2021, he became extremely ill again, but James was placed in transit anyway.


After James left, I was immediately placed in a cell with Derrick, who is 33 years old. For medical privacy reasons, I am withholding Derrick’s last name. Derrick was in transit from FCI Manchester to La Tuna. He, too, contracted a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Manchester’s “Hole” while awaiting transfer to La Tuna. Like James, Derrick also suffered from the symptoms of the disease and had not fully recovered when he was placed in transit.


I enjoyed my time with James and Derrick, despite their illnesses. Both men enjoyed reading my articles. Both of them enjoyed my long and intense mentorship sessions on international business and finance. Both were spiritual beings. Each one found their true, God-given gifts while we were cellmates.


Because God’s hand was over me, I never contracted COVID-19 from either James or Derrick. Once again, God protected me from the COVID-19 harm that is ravaging the outside world. I call God’s protection at FTC Oklahoma the “Miracle at Oklahoma City”.


Epilogue


Throughout these miracles, God gave me the strength to keep publishing my website articles. On February 15, 2021, I was able to petition to Congress for new “whistleblower” protection legislation, as I promised to my readers and the public.


To date, no one from the OIG, BOP or DOJ has interviewed me about the widespread public corruption and contraband trafficking at FCI Talladega. Regardless, I have preserved the evidence that Congressional investigators will need to establish the existence of the wrongdoing and identify the participants in this criminal activity.


In addition to repeatedly placing me in harm’s way, the BOP has also failed to provide me a COVID-19 vaccination shot even though I am a member of the prioritized group of Americans who are 65 and older. To date, 73,669,956 Americans have received the vaccination, but not me.


Additionally, former Attorney General William Barr hired Michael Carvajal as director of the BOP on February 25, 2020. He replaced Hugh Hurwitz after two high-profile prison deaths occurred under Hurwitz's watch – Boston mob boss/FBI informant, Whitey Bulger on October 30, 2018 and Jeffrey Epstein on August 10, 2019.


Based upon the totality of facts and circumstances in my case, it is clear that Carvajal is under-performing in a job that is way over his head and for which he lacks the basic executive skills and confidence to perform in a competent manner. Incoming Attorney General Garland Merrick must replace Carvajal as quickly as possible


Finally, OIG, BOP and DOJ executives failed me as a “whistleblower” but God did not. Nash and her accomplices did not factor God into their malicious equation. He prevailed.



PHOTO: Michael Carvajal, head of the Bureau of Prisons.

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© 2021 by Donald V. Watkins, P.C.