WWII Vet Sentenced in Federal Conspiracy Cocaine Case

Elderly Man Who Ran Cocaine Receives Sentence in Federal Conspiracy Case

federal conspiracyOn his 90th birthday, an elderly Indiana resident who pleaded guilty last year to serving as a drug mule for a cocaine cartel has been sentenced for federal conspiracy charges.

Leo Sharp, 90 years old on May 7th, was sentenced to three years in prison for smuggling more than 1 ton of cocaine into Michigan on behalf of a Mexican drug cartel.

“All I can tell you, your honor, is I’m really heartbroken I did what I did,” Leo Sharp told a judge. “But it’s done.”

Sharp is a decorated World War II veteran, but U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said that was not enough to protect him from the federal conspiracy charges.

“I don’t doubt it will be difficult,” Edmunds told Sharp of prison, “but respect for the law requires there be some custody.”

Sharp is one of 19 people charged in the federal conspiracy and cocaine smuggling case. Reportedly, he was paid over $1 million for his work with the cocaine cartel.

Sharp’s attorney, Darryl Goldberg, argued that the defendant’s dementia would be a burden on the US prison system. Although he agreed that Sharp went into the cocaine smuggling operation “eyes wide,” his condition spurred him to use “bad judgment.”

During his brief remarks in the trial, Sharp said that he wanted to grow papayas on his property in Florida, and work to pay off his $500,000 penalty to the government. However, the government is seizing the land as part of Sharp’s federal conspiracy restitution.

In 2011, Sharp was pulled over in Washtenaw County, Michigan, based on a tip from federal drug agents. According to reports, Sharp refused to let the state trooper search his vehicle, so investigators brought in a K-9 unit, who signaled that there were drugs in the car. Officers then discovered 104 bricks, or 229 lbs, of cocaine in the bed of the truck. The drugs were valued at $2.9 million.

Federal Conspiracy Charges

A conspiracy is a mutual understanding to accomplish some common criminal objective, or to work together for a common criminal purpose. Conspiracy is one of the most often used crimes in the arsenal of the United States’ Attorneys’ Office. In federal drug cases, the government only needs to show that you were a member of a federal conspiracy, and you had the intent to advance and maintain the conspiracy (no “overt act” is required).

This all-encompassing charge has the ability to touch almost every Federal Crime. Common conspiracy drug crime charges include:

Often federal prosecutors will use federal conspiracy charges to charge multiple people for the same offense. The harsh reality is that if you are arrested on conspiracy charges you may likely be held accountable for more than the actions than you actually committed.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help Defend Federal Conspiracy Charges

The Strom Law Firm, LLC stands ready to assist you in the defense of a Federal Conspiracy charge. Our criminal defense attorneys have the resources and the experience that you need to provide aggressive representation and to ensure that your legal rights are protected. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today. 803.252.4800

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