Elderly Man Facing Prison After Trafficking Ton Of Cocaine

By McCarton Ackerman 05/08/14

Ninety year old Leo Sharp is facing the possibility of dying in prison, though his lawyer is arguing for leniency due to the onset of dementia and other health issues.

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A 90-year-old Indiana native spent his birthday in prison after being charged with hauling more than a ton of cocaine across state lines to Michigan.

Leo Sharp, a World War II veteran, was reportedly paid more than $1 million for delivering the drugs. He was arrested by police in Michigan two years ago and pleaded guilty last fall. Prosecutors are recommending a five-year prison sentence, but his attorney is asking Judge Nancy Edmunds for an alternative punishment. Sharp has developed dementia and other health issues since his arrest, which his attorney said would be a burden to the prison system.

However, Sharp is hardly the only elderly drug dealer in recent history. A 73-year-old “ganjagrandma” from Oklahoma was charged in 2012 with running a massive marijuana ring that spanned four states. Police found four pounds of pot, a gun, and $276,000 in cash in the home of Darlene Mayes, who authorities believed was responsible for about 40 percent of the pot trade in the city of Tulsa. Her son, Jerry Dorsey, was also arrested for allegedly being one of her dealers.

Last March, a New York grandma pleaded guilty to third-degree drug possession involving cocaine and fifth-degree drug possession involving the painkiller hydrocodone. Geraldine Horsefall, 59, was accused of selling cocaine and painkillers while babysitting her grand kids, and also employing her adult children to sell the drugs. Her daughter, Arylyn Horsefall, 33, and son, Eric Parker, 38, of Pembroke, were among those arrested in the drug sting. Horsefall could spend the next 11 years behind bars.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.