90-year-old Michigan man sentenced to prison for hauling cocaine

Leo Sharp
Leo Sharp

DETROIT (WXYZ/CNN) — An ailing 90-year-old man who worked as the drug mule for a Mexican cartel is headed to federal prison.

Leo Sharp was arrested in Michigan during a traffic stop in 2011.

He was caught hauling millions of dollars’ worth of cocaine in his vehicle.

Sharp was sentenced in Detroit Wednesday, on his birthday, after pleading guilty.

But his attorney says he was forced into the crime and has no business behind bars.

Over the past few years, Sharp transported more than a ton of cocaine from the south into Michigan, and was paid over a million bucks.

Today, his attorney argued Sharp is a war vet, with no criminal history and was forced by the Mexican cartel to transport the cocaine or his family would be killed.

He also says Sharp suffers from dementia, and shouldn’t go to prison for his crime. But be ordered to house confinement.

Federal judge Nancy Edmunds disagreed.

But, instead of sentencing the 90-year-old to 60 months in prison, what the prosecutors wanted, she sentenced Sharp to 36 months.

WXYZ met up with Sharp and his attorney Darryl A. Goldberg as they left the courthouse.

Reporter: “Leo, do you think you were treated fairly”

Sharp: “I don’t know.”

Reporter: “Do you think you should have gotten special treatment because of your age?”

Sharp: “I don’t think so. I don’t think age has anything to do with it.”

Reporter: “You mentioned today was a special day…”

Sharp: “Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.”

Reporter: “Why is today special for you?”

Sharp: “It’s my birthday.”

Goldberg: “He’s a 90 year old man with dementia and a laundry list of other health conditions. Everyone else seems to believe the bureau of prisons is up to the task and I sure hope they are.”

Reporter: “Does he understand what’s going on. I know you said he has dementia. Does he understand?”

Goldberg: “He’s competent. He understands enough to appreciate what’s going on around him, but he certainly has significant limitations. He has dementia, he’s forgetful, he’s confused. He makes poor decisions.”

Sharp was released into the custody of a relative.

He be allowed to self-report to prison at a later date.

WXYZ reports Sharp has threatened to kill himself over the punishment.

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