From dope dealer, to hope dealer

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After a life of drugs, Anna Williams ended up behind bars, arrested eight years ago during a drug bust. But instead of hating the man who arrested her, she credits the deputy with saving her life.

Williams saw Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy John Puga for the first time since her arrest Tuesday night.

“It was all apart of God’s plan and he put him in my path to start the intervention to turn me to go in the right direction,” Williams said.

It was a life-changing conversation that’s still with Williams nearly a decade later. 

“He asked me ‘Do you realize what you are doing Anna? What you’re doing is not good. You are selling this stuff, this poison.’ He said ‘It ruins lives. I watch it every day, Anna, and do you want to know what I do on the weekends?’ and I said ‘No, what do you do on the weekends?’ and he said ‘I take care of the kids behind this awful drugs and you’re out here selling this stuff to their parents and you don’t see the damage it’s doing to these children’ and he said ‘I see it every day,'” Williams said.

Puga said he was only doing his job, Williams did all the work.

“i just spoke to her in a way that I would hope she would hear me,” Puga said. “It was up to her to make those changes and honestly all the credit goes to her because I wasn’t there to do it for her or with her. She did it.”

After serving nine months of a 16 month prison sentence.

“It was ugly in there,” Williams said. “I found out who I wasn’t real quick when I got in there. I was like ‘I don’t want to be a thug’ and I had thought of everything that Puga, it stuck in my mind the things he had said to me.”

Williams, six years clean and out of trouble, said she’s gone from a “dope dealer to a hope dealer” giving back to the community with her ministry group.

“Every time I go to the Jamison Center and I’m with those children, I think of what he said to me,” Williams said.

“I give back and it’s one of my most favorite things to do because I’m giving back to those children what I so wrongfully took by dealing the drugs and being a part of their parents addiction and stuff.”

Puga said he’s very proud of Williams and the two are already talking about projects they can do together to help kids in the community.

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