Senior Citizens Arrested For Drug Trafficking

By McCarton Ackerman 02/10/16

These aren’t your average grandparents...

Senior Citizens Arrested For Drug Trafficking
Photo via Shutterstock

Three senior citizens in Pennsylvania have been arrested for allegedly running a million-dollar marijuana ring. Richard David Sallade, 71, was arrested along with 67-year-olds Patricia Alan Quinn and Bruce Alan Johnson. A fourth suspect, 50-year-old Craig William Pfister, was also part of the round-up. Local authorities reported seizing 360 pounds of marijuana when arresting them, with the drugs having a street value of $1.6 million. Sallade and Quinn were reach released on $50,000 bail, while Pfister and Johnson were released on $10,000 bail. All four are expected to stand trial at a later date.

Sallade reportedly received synthetic marijuana packages from New York and Massachusetts at his home in Cranberry Township. He and Quinn would then sell the products at drug paraphernalia shops they owned, with customers coming from as far away as Ohio and West Virginia to purchase them.

However, they are all decades away from ranking among the oldest drug smugglers in the country. In May 2014, Michigan native Leo Sharp was sentenced to three years in prison on his 90th birthday for hauling more than a ton of cocaine across state lines, for which he was reportedly paid over $1 million. His arrest took place in 2011, but documents filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit report that he had been trafficking cocaine and other drugs since 2009. His attorney asked Judge Nancy Edmunds for an alternative punishment since he had developed dementia and other health issues since his arrest, but the judge believed prison time was warranted.

In 2010, 85-year-old Richard Heritz was arrested for trying to smuggle marijuana for his grandson, who was incarcerated on burglary charges. There was plenty of time for family bonding afterwards because he was placed in a cell not far from his grandson in the same prison. Heritz was eventually released on $10,000 bond, but faced up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine if convicted on the charges.

And in May 2002, 80-year-old Roza Shusterman dodged jail time by pleading guilty to felony drug sales of prescription pills and a misdemeanor drug possession charge. Her first drug conviction came in 1993, at the age of 70, and she went on to receive two more in the next 10 years.

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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.