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.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 24 2013 9:45 PM EDT2013-05-25 01:45:01 GMT
The Georgia-Carolina Council for the Boy Scouts of America voted against allowing gays to join the Boy Scouts. They say they voted against changing the membership standards because 85% of the 2,700 constituentsMore >>
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Friday, May 24 2013 10:53 AM EDT2013-05-24 14:53:19 GMT
Ryan David Jones/Source: RCSO
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Friday, May 24 2013 8:00 AM EDT2013-05-24 12:00:17 GMT
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Thursday, May 23 2013 11:07 PM EDT2013-05-24 03:07:55 GMT
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Thursday, May 23 2013 10:53 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:53:59 GMT
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Thursday, May 23 2013 9:03 PM EDT2013-05-24 01:03:57 GMT
President Obama addressed the nation with the counter-terrorism policy which includes the controversial plan to shut down Guantanamo Bay. FOX54 has the exclusive interview with a former military defenseMore >>
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Thursday, May 23 2013 8:10 AM EDT2013-05-23 12:10:07 GMT
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