Prisons

Happy 90th Birthday! Feds Send WWII Vet to Prison for Drug Smuggling

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Leo Sharp, a World War II veteran who suffers from dementia, didn't get much of a chance to celebrate his 90th birthday on Wednesday, because a federal judge sentenced him to three years in prison for smuggling cocaine.

Sharp, whom ABC describes as the "world's oldest drug mule," was stopped in 2011 for an illegal lane change in Michigan. The arresting officer apparently called for back-up when Sharp declined to have his car searched. A drug-sniffing dog found 104 bricks of cocaine worth an estimated $2.9 million. Sharp was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

He pleaded guilty, but has claimed that he did it because the Mexican drug cartel threatened to kill his family. His lawyer said, "This old man was brainwashed…when he wanted to quit, they put a gun to his head," and that he deserves leniency for "fighting Nazis." Citing a medley of health problems, the lawyer requested that Sharp be placed under house arrest.

Sharp doesn't think he'll last long in prison–or as he describes it, "a toilet with bars." When asked last week about his looming sentencing, he said that if the feds lock him up, "I'm going to get a goddamn gun and shoot myself in the mouth or my ear, one or the other." He begged the judge, "I'm really heartbroken I did what I did. But it's done."

Too bad, grandpa. U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds wants his punishment to serve as a deterrent for other rogue seniors. She insists that "this is not a victimless crime," writing that the "illegal distribution of narcotics" is "ravishing" major cities, is "leading to horrific cartel violence in Mexico," and that Sharp's "actions are directly linked to this destructive force."

Sharp's plea deal reduced his prison time from the standard minimum recommendation of 10 years, but he was also fined $500,000 and had to forfeit a flower nursery he owns.  

NEXT: Will Congress Keep D.C. From Decriminalizing Marijuana?

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  1. I got nuthin

  2. I vote that we let this guy go, and instead send the Feds to prison. All of them. And I don’t care who we have to let out to make room for them.

  3. This story is like something a Law & Order screenwriter would come up with in a coke-fueled fever dream.

    writing that the “illegal distribution of narcotics” is “ravishing” major cities

    The illegal distribution of narcotics and our major cities: a love story.

    1. In which the bodices are really ripped!

    2. WTF “ravishing”?

      rav?ish?ing

      /?raviSHiNG/

      adjective

      adjective: ravishing

      delightful; entrancing.
      “she looked ravishing”

      synonyms: very beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, wonderful, lovely, striking, magnificent, dazzling, radiant, delightful, charming, enchanting; More

      1. So cocaine is making our cities gorgeous and delightful. Where’s the problem?

        1. When they go from gorgeous and delightful to anorexic and spun out?

          1. Or they become Cocaine Bear, like me.

            1. You’re the first guy to cite that meme in 2014 according to the page.

              1. The bear was clearly uh, hibernating, while it was still snowing.

        2. No, cocaine is making love to, or kidnapping the cities, depending on what definition you like.

      2. You’d think a judge or her clerks would know the difference between ravishing and ravaging.

        1. You’d also think judges would know what “congress shall make no law” means.

  4. Jesus Christ, is this the day of punishment for us? Laws allowing children to be arrested, 90-year-olds being sent to prison, fuck. And it’s only 1PM.

    1. It’s 4, dipshit.

      1. No one cares what time it is in Cleveland. Except Johnny Manziel, now. Ha ha ha ha! Enjoy your rogue QB!

        1. He’s going to be more fun for Cleveland than they’ve ever been allowed to have before. John says he’s going to be great.

          I say he’s going to be a roller-coaster than never quite gets consistent, but it’s all academic, anyway, when he gets busted with ten whores, eighteen pounds of coke, and Warty.

          1. None of which should be illegal, of course.

            1. What, Warty is legal now?

          2. If he’s busted with 18 lbs of cocaine and Warty, how many lbs of cocaine did he start off with?

            1. See, some can see to the crux of the matter.

        2. Uh, I think Cleveland will be pleased as hell to have Manziel, who certainly will be better than any QB they’ve had in a while. The party to laugh at in this transaction is Manziel, who’s stuck with Cleveland.

      2. No, it’s 11:08 AM.

  5. Sharp’s plea deal reduced his prison time from the standard minimum recommendation of 10 years, but he was also fined $500,000 and had to forfeit a flower nursery he owns.

    OK then, fuck the one-percenters

  6. Sharp, whom ABC describes as the “world’s oldest drug mule,” was stopped in 2011 for an illegal lane change in Michigan. The arresting officer apparently called for back-up when Sharp declined to have his car searched.

    There’s way, way more to this story.

    1. Obviously a case of parallel construction.

    2. Yep. I’m not convinced the guy has dementia, for starters.

    3. Not a whole lot more – an old white guy driving a vehicle with out-of-state plates near Ann Arbor means he’s a hick from the sticks visiting the big city and he’s probably carrying a wad of cash for his trip. The cops weren’t looking for drugs, they were rolling the guy.

      Still, googling the story only finds one hit on HuffPo from 2011 that says the same thing. You’d think that some reporter might think to ask if cops routinely search all the vehicles they stop.

      1. I’m wondering what their reasonable suspicion of a crime was, that justified the search.

        1. His white mustache wasn’t from old age?

  7. U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds wants his punishment to serve as a deterrent for other rogue seniors.

    A few generations from now when all drugs are legal, homemade, self-administered, and ubiquitous, someone’s going to read through an archive of this arrest and think, “That judge was a stupid cunt.”

    1. I’ve never heard a picosecond called a ‘generation’ before.

    2. A few generations from now when all drugs are legal, homemade, self-administered, and ubiquitous, someone’s going to read through an archive of this arrest and think, “We need to lynch this stupid cunt.”

  8. Wait a minute. Carson, California sheriff Lt. Arthur Escamillas, in the “arresting 5-year-olds” thread, said that the elderly cannot commit crimes.

    1. Sharp’s not ELDERLY-elderly.

  9. The judge could have been really nasty and sentenced him to a veteran’s hospital.

    1. “A toilet *without* bars.”

    2. ouch

  10. She insists that “this is not a victimless crime”

    I’m sure they produced all of Sharp’s victims to testify at his trial.

    1. His victim is the state and its representatives will certainly be present.

      1. Cops take drug offenses personally because as members of the state, those are crimes against them.

        Things like murder, rape, burglary, assault, and others are not against the them, so cops tend not to care.

  11. Forget the Legalize Marijuana campaigns, it’s time we fight the battles that are worth fighting:

    LEGALIZE COCAINE
    If it’s good enough for Freud, it’s good enough for ‘Murica

    1. I think it would be a really good thing to have more of a campaign to legalize hard drugs. Too many people think that pot should be legal because it’s not too bad. Someone needs to start working on convincing people that the real reason for legalization is because prohibition is barbaric and evil and it’s none of your goddamn business if people you don’t know want to use drugs you don’t like.

      1. Too many people think that pot should be legal because it’s not too bad.

        That’s partly true, but it’s more about experience and familiarity, I think. 2/3 of the country has used marijuana. Legalization is in their self interest since it could just as easily be their ass on the line (kinda like judges who plea out DUI cases because they’re lushes who feel a twinge of guilt about getting off on “professional courtesy” for the same crime). I think it’s less than 5% that have used cocaine. It’s easier to imagine them as AK-47 toting madmen than your stoner friend Dave who does that funny thing when he’s high.

  12. It’s for his own good.

  13. he deserves leniency for “fighting Nazis.”

    What is it with these ‘greatest generation’ bastards? They’ve been milking the whole ‘fighting Nazis’ for 70 years. We get it. You won.

    Also, the judge and prosecutor are cunts.

  14. I’m not convinced the guy has dementia, for starters.

    He apparently thought he could get leniency.

  15. Just like when gangs use children to commit crimes, I’m sure that whatever gang this dude’s pallin’ around with thought “Ha, no judge will ever throw the book at you–you’re a geeeeeezer!”.

    I got no sympathy for this cat. Have fun in prison.

    1. Well then, you are a dick. Do you also think that people who get raped had it coming?

      1. Yeah, because suggesting an old dude knew exactly what he was doing when he put $3M worth of coke in his trunk is exactly like blaming the victim of a rape for what happened to them.

        If you want to feel bad for this guy, feel bad for him because of the drug war, not because he’s old and thought he could milk his veteran status for a get out of jail free card that some equally-innocent 35 year old guy in the same boat wouldn’t have gotten.

    2. I have sympathy for him, but he got busted fair and square.

      I would normally strongly advise against running from the cops, but if I had $3M worth of coke in the car, I might give it a go.

    3. Selling and transporting goods shouldn’t be a crime.

      The fact that it is indicates the prison extends right up to the borders. Have fun in there too.

      1. What about nuclear warheads? Anthrax virus? Radioactive waste?

        I could go on of course – but even in libertopia it’s likely the transporting and selling of some goods would still be off limits.

        1. And a voluntarily taken drug is none of those things. Fuck off, slaver.

  16. In the future, Judge Nancy Edmunds and her ilk are going to be as reviled as the Nazi camp guards are reviled today.

    That fucking cunt I hope she dies a painful death of horrible cancer and the only relief is an illegal drug.

    1. In the future, Judge Nancy Edmunds and her ilk are going to be as reviled as the Nazi camp guards are reviled today.

      Yeah, I kinda doubt it. Quick, name a judge who threw somebody in jail during alcohol Prohibition (no googling).

  17. I’m just curious what prompted the cop to want to search. The guy made a lane change, probably without signaling or something, so the cop pulls him over. The cop sees a very old man driving and thinks…this guy has got something in this car.

    1. I imagine a lot of cops search everyone they pull over. Because fuck you, that’s why.

      1. I think what Juice and others are implying here is that the guy is more likely a known, long time drug dealer, who does not have dementia.

        & the reason they pulled over a very old man, who otherwise would be completely outside of suspicion, and ask to search; then when told no, bring in the drug dogs to get “proof” to do the search anyway is because he was being actively targeted.

        & I think this is more reasonable that FYTW.

        Don’t get me wrong – I have no love for LEOs normally either, think WOD is immoral and worthless, etc/etc/etc

        But cops do operate on incentives like all humans. & as such, they don’t typically self select the hardest possible path, especially if they are less than certain of any benefit by going down that path.

        IE – humans generally travel the path most traveled, because default behavior is the path of least resistance.

        As such, it’s unlikely the cops would go through all those motions, without a strong belief about a payoff in the end.

        Of course who knows what anyone else is thinking or what their motivations might have been in any given situation.

        & FYTW might be the reason – but given all the facts and how humans generally act – I think it’s more reasonable to assume the cops had other reasons to target this specific individual, than it is to assume they were just harassing an old man because they can.

        1. Sorry for the novela – but have to add another point.

          Why would a drug cartel, also a group of rational humans who operate on incentives, risk millions in product with an old guy considering they likely have less risky alternatives lining up?

          Answer is they wouldn’t. Sure, a guy who’s family is under threat is compliant, but not forever, not consistently, and due to being under duress even the most compliant fear-based mule will have erratic, unpredictable behavior.

          Sorry – but this doesn’t add up – logically I think the old man wasn’t a big risk and the cops were aware of that as well.

          But Reason writers saw “WOD” “90 years old” “prison” “dementia” and went to town because the narrative fits very neatly into pre-held beliefs.

          What it looks like though is that Reason simply reprinted a part of the defense’s case, even though it’s likely BS, without bothering to find out if it was BS or not.

          Of course – I could be wrong – but the one thing I’m certain of (and others have stated) is that the story doesn’t add up – something’s missing.

          My opinion – cops busted a drug dealer (even though I think WOD is crap – this doesn’t appear to be any more abusive than any other normal drug arrest with someone carrying that much coke).

  18. “In the memo asking for a five-year sentence, [prosecutors] say that during our [ABC Eyewitness News] interview the defendant revealed his philosophical views on cocaine when he equated the cocoa plant to the daylilies he raised.

    “”All God’s plants that cheer people up are created for a purpose. To take depressed people’s minds and make them feel good,” said Sharp.”

    http://abclocal.go.com/wls/sto…..id=9529678

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