"A Done Deal "
“When I was growing up, to be a drug dealer was a prosperous position. You were honored.”
As a teenager on the streets of Buffalo, New York, Guy Iannello hung out with gangs and started experimenting with drugs.
“I started with just pills at first,” he said. “And then it went to marijuana then it just escalated and got bigger and bigger. Drugs became more of a friend to me than anything else.”
Guy went into the Navy in 1972. Instead of straightening up, he fell even deeper into the world of drugs.
“At that period of time I got into drugs very heavily, especially in the military,” he said. “In fact I got involved in a group of individuals, civilian and military, who were involved in the drug world. And it really escalated my drug abuse to the point were I was shot at and almost killed.”
When he left the military, Guy became a full-time drug dealer. But all that ended when Guy was arrested in the biggest cocaine bust Western New York had ever seen.
“So at the age of around 20, 21, I was sentenced to prison for life,” he said. After serving only a year and a half of his life sentence, Guy was paroled. He began dating and married Cate. He started a limo service and several other businesses – most of which he used to traffic drugs. Guy made a lot of money but there was a price.
“There was always the fear,” he said, “always the feeling that you’re always having to turn around, always having to look behind you to know, always being concerned whether phones are tapped, always wondering if you’re gonna get shot and killed during a drug deal.”
Along with Guy’s paranoia came an increasing addiction to drugs. Soon it was more than Cate could take – so she left. Eventually, drugs cost Guy everthing he ever had and more.
“All the money I had I went through,” he said. “I was actually in my own home. It was in foreclosure with no running water, no electricity, no money. Taking showers outside with hoses and eating what I could find, getting shoes out of garbage cans. I had no life. My only exit was death.
“I got to a point where I actually slit my wrists to try and kill myself because I could no longer live that life. I wanted to stop using and I couldn’t. No matter what I tried, programs or anything, I couldn’t stop.”
Guy was arrested again for drug possession. He was out on bail when he ran into an old friend who invited Guy to church.
“And I said, sure, I’ve tried everything else. What have I got to lose?”
Later that afternoon, the service was still on Guy’s mind.
“That preacher said just ask Jesus. So I said, ‘God, I know You’re out there somewhere. I’ve been brought up to believe that there’s a God, but I don’t know ya.’ I began to weep. I began to repent, and I said, ‘You know how many people I’ve hurt? How many families I’ve destroyed, how many people I killed by selling them drugs?’ And it just began to affect me terrribly, and I began to cry. I said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything I’ve ever done.’ I said, ‘Jesus, please, take this life over and come into this heart. Take me!’
"All of a sudden this love started filling me. It was overwhelming me, and I began to discern that this love was everything I’d been looking for, through drugs, alcohol, women, power, money. I realized -- wait a minute -- it’s You! It’s You I’ve been looking for this whole time. You!"
Guy couldn’t wait to tell everyone he knew about his encounter with Christ. He even flew out to tell his ex-wife. Cate couldn’t believe the change.
“I saw the same person in human form,” Cate said, “but he was entirely different in every other way. He was just so alive. I saw what born again really meant.”
The change Cate saw in Guy prompted her to make her own decision to accept Christ.
“I was in the New Age, just really looking for a Supernatural God,” she said. “If God was God, He could still do supernatural things. I didn’t find Him in the supernatural through the New Age, but when I saw Guy changed totally I knew that anything that could change that man was the God that I was looking for.”
While Guy was a changed man, his past was still on trial. He went back to court and…
“They ignored my life sentence. And here I had a mandatory minimum four years to do. And I walked out of that courtroom with probation and no longer went to prison,” he said.
Within two months, Guy and Cate remarried.
“Now I’m a pastor of a church, director of a drug program, which we have discipleship for men and women,” he said. “And we minister in the jails. We have a construction company called Covenant Builders where we can disciple these men and then teach them a trade.”
“I can honestly say that I’m married to a man of God,” Cate said. “He’s honest; he’s faithful. He cares selflessly about others. He’s just really a true picture of what Jesus is to me and my family and to the people around here.”
“Today, it’s not about wealth or fame or power,” Guy said. “I am so rich, rich with his love, rich in the knowledge of truth that has set me free.”