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One Lucky Move Ended Up Making this Construction Worker a Millionaire

New Mexico Lottery

Remember when people were going bananas for that $1.5 billion Powerball lottery jackpot?

Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty

It wasn’t that long ago. You remember.

People were having intense fantasies of sleeping on stacks of cash…

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And showing up to work the next day to tell their bosses:


Thousands of people waited in long lines for a chance at hitting the jackpot.

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Yes, even babies.

Jose Sarabia of Fort Stockton, Texas was one of those people.

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Credit: New Mexico Lottery

Sarabia has played the lottery for years and was excited about the $500 million Powerball jackpot drawing on January 6th. The construction worker, who works in Loving, New Mexico, went to his usual spot to buy a Powerball ticket: a local Chevron station.

Sarabia bought a ticket, but the clerk accidentally printed two tickets. The clerk tried to sell it to Sarabia’s friend, who declined. Sarabia promptly bought the extra ticket.

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A few days later, that extra ticket made Sarabia a millionaire.

Credit: New Mexico Lottery

Sarabia’s ticket matched five out of six numbers from the January 6 drawing. He only missed the Powerball number – otherwise he would have won the full $500 million. Sarabia didn’t lament missing out on $498 million. He showed up to claim his prize with a huge smile. He says plans on paying off his house, donating to his church and helping his parents. And according to Sarabia, his friend was cool with Sarabia hitting the jackpot on a ticket: “He said… it was meant for me.”

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This is Why Latinos Feel Hopeless in California’s Gang-Riddled Central Valley


This is Why Latinos Feel Hopeless in California’s Gang-Riddled Central Valley

California Central Valley Gangs
Credit: Vice

Young Latinos in California’s Central Valley are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Gangs being the rock and the police being the hard place.

But their troubled lives begin way before they have to face gangs or the police. Most of them come from broken, poor immigrant families that work in the produce fields. And with the severe drought plaguing the state, there hasn’t been much work. The unemployment rate is twice as high as the national average. So by proxy, many turn to gangs.

“It’s about hopelessness, bro,” says Jesse de la Cruz, a reformed gang member from the area with a Ph.D, to Vice, about how gang involvement doesn’t come from being poor. “Look around you, it’s like the Third World, man. People have nothing.”

READ: Could the U.S. be Blamed for Gang Violence in El Salvador?

Those who find themselves even remotely involved with either of the local rival gangs — Sureños, Norteños or any of the related chapters — are led by gang leaders in prison and find trouble fast. They become soldiers who execute orders such as killings and selling drugs.

Once they have to face the police, their troubled lives get more complicated. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Brennan and Lieutenant Froilan Mariscal enforce an injunction established in 2009, b asically a civil action where the city sues the gang for gang-related behavior punishable with jail time. And all the gang activity in the area is the reason Brennan doesn’t offer plea bargains to gang members facing long sentences.

To make matters worse, the city offers very few helpful social programs.

Read more about the long gang history in California’s Central Valley from Vice here.

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