Trejo did drugs as a teenager growing up in California and spend time in various prisons during the 1960s. He got to be a well known inmate and champion boxer at San Quentin State Prison, the oldest jail in California. Fortunately Trejo cleaned up and became a well known actor. The full story below.
Trejo became a drug counselor to help others. In the 1980s he gets into acting after working on the set of a film. The actor recalls his first roles were always as inmate number 1, which is the name of Trejo's documentary.
The tattooed actor says it was painful going back to his youth for the documentary. At one point in jail Trejo thought that was it for him, his life was over. "I tried to say, 'No, wait a minute. It's not over. You're just getting started'." That's when he became a drug counselor and ever since he's been trying to do good by inspiring fans with his story. "It doesn't matter where you start, it's where you end up" says the actor.
In the documentary you can see how Trejo goes in and out of prisons, and he says all that generated fear and anxiety which are reminders for him "to never step out of line." Today the actor has his own taco business, Trejo's Tacos with four locations in Los Angeles!