FOX5 Exclusive: Military dad faces deportation - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

FOX5 Exclusive: Military dad faces deportation

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Today, Gerardo Suarez calls himself an entirely different man than the one he was in 1998.

"I got addicted and hooked up with controlled substance, speed, and I was playing music back then," said Suarez.

Immigrating to Las Vegas from the Philippines, Suarez was arrested for felony drug possession with intent to distribute 14 years ago.

He served only probation and never used drugs again.

"My son is really one of the main reasons why I want to change my life. I saw him growing," he said. 

His son, Marc, was just 11 years old when that arrest took place. Fourteen years later, Marc is now a sergeant in the U.S. Army living through the same ordeal. 

"Immediately my heart just shattered," he said. 

It was on March 24 at 6:30 in the morning that ICE officials came to the Suarez home to take Gerardo into custody and provided little explanation.

"They [ICE officer] asked, 'Were you involved in these charges back then of this year?' I said yes.  'Ok, put your hands in the back.'"

Suarez was arrested as part a nationwide ICE operation called "Cross Check," yielding 3,100 arrests. It's goal: to deport convicted criminal aliens.

"I requested them if I could see my son and talk to my son and they denied me," said Gerardo. 

Marc was asleep through it all, woken up with a phone call from ICE.

"I ran outside and thought it was a joke and I ran into my dad's room and it was empty," he explained. 

Gerardo, a legal resident of the U.S. since 1989, spent 13 days at the Henderson Detention Center. On Thursday, he was released on his own recognizance, but will have to face an immigration judge to decide his fate.

He could be deported back to the Philippines which frustrates the sergeant who just returned from Afghanistan in January.

"It's backwards," Marc said. "I'm fighting for a government agency and unquestioningly following the orders that my country gives me and then to have to come back and fight against a government agency?"

An online petition to stop Suarez's deportation has been set up by the family. You can find it here.

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