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"90 Day Fiancé" star Jorge Nava has been spending his days behind bars sanitizing prison cells during the COVID-19 pandemic and said “there definitely is panic” among his fellow inmates.
Nava — who appeared on the third season of “90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?” — is serving a two-and-a-half year sentence after he was found with nearly 300 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of his car. He was convicted on charges of possession with intent to sell, according to Fox News.
The reality star, who married Russian model Anifisa Arkipchenko on the series after the pair met on Facebook, is already a year and eight months into his sentence, he explained on Monday’s episode of TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé: Self-Quarantined.”
Nava had been working as a member of the yard crew maintenance at the Arizona state prison where he’s serving his time, but recently shifted work duties as a result of the pandemic.
“We clean cells and we sanitize areas that have a lot of traffic and we do this on a daily basis,” Nava said in a phone interview from prison on the show.
Nava said the pandemic has a lot of inmates on edge because of fears that it could begin to spread throughout the prison.
“There definitely is panic because us, as prisoners, you know, we really don’t have much access but other than the news and the media that report all these crazy things going on in the world,” he said. “It’s almost like watching a movie, like I flip the TV on and all these places are closed, you know, you can’t really walk around without a mask and it’s just like adapting to a whole new environment.”
Nava, who called prison a “lonely place,” said he is set to be released in less than a month.
“The thought of my release is still kind of nerve-wracking because of this whole pandemic but I am actually really excited to get released,” he said. “I’m about 26 days away from walking out of these gates and being a free man.”
Nava is looking forward to “being out there with my family” and having “some amazing moments with my loved ones” but said the pandemic could put some of some of his plans on hold.
“It’s crazy to think that because of the COVID-19 I maybe have to socially isolate myself out there you know? But I can’t wait to just have my own freedom,” he said.
One person he’s unlikely to be spending time with following his release is Arkipchenko.
Nava revealed the two are still legally married, but he plans to seek a divorce after discovering on the internet while behind bars that Arkipchenko was with someone else.
“That definitely hurt,” he said in the show. “It really broke my heart. But there’s really no way for me to do anything from in here.”
After the discovery, Arkipchenko started blocking his calls and the relationship deteriorated from there, Nava said.
“It was just a mess,” he said.
The couple began to have trouble just before Nava was sent off to prison in September 2018 after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.
“The night before I came to prison, we had an argument and things were just not going well,” he said. “I thought that I was going to try to make things work and they didn’t, and that was it.”
About two months after he arrived at the state prison he said Arkipchenko began basically trying to “get rid” of him.
“She basically told me that she couldn’t be with me anymore and telling me that she wished I got 12 years in prison,” he said.
The demise of the couple’s relationship was painful, but Nava said it’s now in the past.
“It definitely made me stronger,” he said.
The time apart has also allowed him to reflect on “all of the negative” going on his life.
“I basically was willing to do anything for love, even give up my freedom and now that I kind of went through that, it’s kind of showed me what her true colors were,” he said.
Nava said he hasn’t completely abandoned the idea of finding love again one day but said it isn’t a priority right now.
Instead, the reality star has been focusing on himself and has already made a significant physical transformation.
Nava, who once weighed 275 pounds, has lost 146 pounds since being incarcerated and said his focus has been on taking care of his own health.
“I am able to think clearer, I am more energetic, just my habits have changed so much,” he said.
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