Ninety-Year Old Drug Courier Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison
A ninety-year old man from Indiana was sentenced today to three years in federal prison for his role as a drug courier for a major cocaine trafficking organization with direct ties to the Joquin Guzman Lorea (a/k/a “Chapo” Guzman) Sinaloa cartel, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by James Allen, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Detroit Division.
Receiving the sentence was Leo Sharp, who pleaded guilty on October 8, 2013, to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. In addition to the prison sentence, United States District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds also ordered Sharp to pay $500,000, that includes forfeiture of real estate owned by Sharp in Florida.
United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade stated, "In this case, it was important to balance the defendant's age with his conduct -- seven separate trips to transport more than 1,200 kilograms of cocaine across the country and into Michigan, for which he was paid more than $1 million by a major Mexican drug cartel. In light of this conduct, the defendant's age should not be a get-out-jail free card."
According to court records, Sharp had been a drug courier for the better part of a decade but it wasn’t until the fall of 2011 when he was stopped by law enforcement on Interstate 94 outside of Ann Arbor, MI, and found to be in possession of 104 kilograms of cocaine, that his extensive involvement with the drug trafficking organization was completely discovered. In fact, that particular seizure was only one such trip that Sharp and other couriers had undertaken to bring hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana to southeast Michigan from Arizona. Through the lead efforts of the DEA, with assistance from the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, law enforcement were able to identify and indict nineteen individuals from across the country and into Mexico for their roles in this mass narcotics operation. Sixteen of the nineteen indicted individuals have pleaded guilty and have either been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing over the next several months.
To date, the investigation has led to the seizure of over 200 kilograms of cocaine and $3,000,000 in narcotics proceeds.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher Graveline and Doug Salzenstein.