World's Oldest Known Drug Mule Gets Caught
Posted on June 23rd, 2014
The Mules Story
Leo Sharp is 90-year old World War II veteran who has, up until recently, been known for being awarded a bronze star for his service to the county, and for contributing to his community by planting over 5,000 of his prize-winning daylilies. So naturally, given Sharpe's age, and his heroic and charitable past, no one would suspect that the veteran could be guilty of illegally transferring over a ton of heroine to Michigan.
Drug Mule Photo By Greg Westfall
According to nbcnews.com, Sharp was pulled over for an illegal lane change, and was caught with 228 pounds of cocaine. The drug bust, however, was not the fist time that Sharp had illegally smuggled cocaine for the Mexican cartel. According to the U.S. District Court in Detroit, Sharp had been pushing drugs since 2009.
Perhaps Sharp was banking on his history and age to help allow his drug-muling to slide by undetected and unpunished. In court, Sharp's defense attorney, Darryl Goldberg, tried to gain the judge's sympathy by regaling the court with details of the Battle of Mount Battaglia, but the judge, the Honorable Nancy Edmunds, soon cut off the irrelevant narrative, at which point Goldberg changed his portrayal of Sharpe as a heroic veteran to an elderly man suffering from dementia. The dementia plea, however, was also a failed attempt at gaining the judge's sympathy. In fact, Judge Edmunds saw the plea as an "insult to all the people who have dementia and don't get involved in illegal activity."
Despite Goldman's best efforts to keep his geriatric client from serving a prison sentence, and Sharp's suicide threats upon conviction, Sharp eventually had to face the music and was sentenced to 3 years in prison. The minimum sentence for a drug trafficking crime of this magnitude usually calls for a 14-year sentence. To say that the judge was showing leniency toward the defendant for his age is an understatement. According to Fox News, Sharp was also fined $500,000 penalty to the government.
The Average Verdict for Sharp's Charge
According to Michigan State laws on trafficking, delivering less than 50 grams of cocaine may result in up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of $25,000.00. Sharp's sentencing of 3 years is very generous - though at his age, 3 years could be life in prison. Sharp's properties will also be confiscated to pay his court fines, including a property that he owns in Florida.
Expunging a Drug Charge from a Michigan State Record
The stain of Sharp's offense will follow him for the rest of his life. While he was once known for his extraordinary service and for living a peaceful life, his decision to break the law by trafficking drugs is the action for which he will most likely be remembered.
According to Michigan state law, Sharp may never have the opportunity to expunge his drug trafficking offense from his criminal record, unless he lives to be 100. Michigan State expungement law states that in order to be eligible for an expungement:
- 5 years must have passed since the sentence was given or since being released from prison - whichever was the last to occur.
- The defendant cannot have been convicted of any additional offenses. The defendant cannot have been convicted of a felony with a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
- The defendant cannot have previously received a set aside in Michigan.
Traffic offenses are also ineligible for expungement. So, while Sharp may be eligible to expunge his drug trafficking offense from his criminal record - if he lives long enough to do so - his offense for illegally changing lanes will continue to stay on his DMV record.