GREENSBORO, N.C. — A Greensboro mom is turning to the public to help bring her son home from Kuwait. He’s not serving overseas. She says he is serving life in prison for a crime he did not commit.
Jermaine Rogers, a disabled veteran, father of five and graduate of Cummings High School in Burlington, is facing drug charges.
We reached out to the U.S. Department of State who told us via email, “The Criminal Court had sentenced him to death on September 26, 2016 on charges of smuggling cocaine into Kuwait for the purpose of trafficking.”
Rogers’ sentence was later reduced to life in prison.
Carol Ingram, Roger’s mother, says he was working as a contractor in Kuwait when he was arrested in 2015. He had been working there for 11 years.
“It put me in a total depression,” Ingram said. “I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t even want to go to church. I didn’t even want to wake up. I didn’t want to do nothing.”
Ingram has been working to prove her son’s innocence. She and other family members believe officials in Kuwait illegally searched Rogers’ apartment and then someone later planted the drugs in the evidence.
“Sometimes I don’t sleep for two or three days,” Ingram said. “I worry… did he get enough rice and chicken today? Did the guards abuse my son today? Did he have enough blankets to keep warm last night?”
Ingram says she writes her son letters weekly and reaches out to lawmakers on his behalf.
“It is just devastating,” Ingram said. “It is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life.”
Rogers’ fiancee Karina Mateo has also been putting pressure on lawmakers from her home in Texas. She met Rogers four years ago in Kuwait.
“This has been the most terrible experience, especially with my daughter, not telling her when her father is going to be able to come home,” Mateo said.
Together the two have reached out to the embassies, congressmen, senators, and the Obama and Trump administrations for help.
In statement sent to FOX8, the U.S. Department of State said, “If arrested abroad, a U.S. citizen must go through the foreign legal process for being charged or indicted, prosecuted, possibly convicted and sentenced, and for any appeals process.”
People from the U.S. embassy have visited Rogers and the state department says they can help with things like monitoring conditions.
His family says he deserves to be home.
“My heart won’t stop breaking until I see my son,” Ingram said.
The family has a change.org petition and so far it has more than 8,000 signatures. We reached out to General Dynamics, the company Mateo says Rogers was working for at the time, they have yet to answer our questions.