Benefit For Milwaukee Man Detained in Abu Dhabi

NOW: Benefit For Milwaukee Man Detained in Abu Dhabi

Dozens of people came together at The Nomad World Pub on Sunday, June 25 to help raise funds for Matty Gonzales and his family.

His friends and family embraced him after being gone for more than three months. 

"I spent so much time thinking I was going to miss everything like moms funeral. I missed my little sisters wedding," said Matty Gonzales. 

Fortunately, he made it just in time for his mom's funeral in Green Bay.

"Coming home just to do that was worth it," said Gonzales. 

Gonzales, a longtime Milwaukee resident, bartender and musician was passing through Abu Dhabi to board a Royal Caribbean ship for a business trip. But his trip was cut short when he was detained in the Abu Dhabi for having a prescription medication called Tramadol. Gonzales did not register the medication prior to his trip, which is a requirement in UAE.

He was held at the Al Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi for months. During his time, he saw a local doctor who confirmed his condition of back pain and dislocated shoulders. But a judge still sentenced him to two years in prison for not following procedures. 

Gonzales’s sister hired a lawyer and reached out to local representatives to get him out.  His sister Nicole worked endlessly to get him free and he was finally released on Friday but she is not exactly sure why. 

"We actually don't know. He was not set to have an appeal date until September or July. All of this happened very fast," said Nicole Denil.

Gonzales said he would not be home if it wasn't for Nicole.  

"I am truly convinced she is the reason I am here right now. She is an angel, she's a rock star," said Gonzales.

All of the events proceeds will be donated to help pay for legal expenses. If you'd like to donate, donations can be made via PayPay using this email address: [email protected]

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