Elderly courier, 89, pleads guilty in federal drug case - New York News

Elderly courier, 89, pleads guilty in federal drug conspiracy case

Posted: Updated:
Leo Sharp, 89 Leo Sharp, 89

DETROIT (AP) -- An 89-year-old man pleaded guilty Tuesday in Detroit to serving as a drug mule in a scheme to distribute more than 1,400 pounds of cocaine.

Leo Sharp of Michigan City, Ind., is one of the oldest criminal defendants to step inside Detroit's federal court. He was contrite and very talkative during his appearance, saying he had never before committed a crime and worked for a drug organization because he needed money.

Sharp was 87 in 2011 when a Michigan state trooper pulled him over on Interstate 94, west of Detroit. Anxious and upset about what the trooper would find, he declared, "Just kill me and let me leave this planet."

In court, Sharp wore a dark suit that had a lapel pin signifying his service in World War II. He playfully winked at drug agents who investigated the case. His hearing aids weren't strong enough so U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds invited Sharp to stand just a few feet away from her.

"You knew it was cocaine, right?" Edmunds asked.

"I did," Sharp replied. "Oh, yes."

The delivery of more than 200 pounds wasn't Sharp's first interstate haul. He admitted he was responsible for more than 1,400 pounds of drugs. The government said it has evidence that Sharp was transporting marijuana and cocaine from the West Coast back in 2000.

Nonetheless, prosecutors are showing mercy by recommending a five-year prison sentence because of Sharp's age and his war service. It's a significant break: The sentencing guidelines, which aren't mandatory, call for a minimum of 14 years.

Defense attorney Darryl Goldberg said he will ask for less than five years when Sharp returns to court on Feb. 11.

Sharp owes $500,000 as part of the plea deal and has agreed to give up his lily nursery in Apopka, Fla.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Many concerned with water quality of Lake St. Clair

    Many concerned with water quality of Lake St. Clair

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:41:45 GMT
    Labor Day weekend is prime time for boating, fishing and water sports, but many property owners on Lake St. Clair are a bit concerned.
    Labor Day weekend is prime time for boating, fishing and water sports, but many property owners on Lake St. Clair are a bit concerned.
  • Livonia man identified from deadly I-275 car, semi truck crash

    Livonia man identified from deadly I-275 car, semi truck crash

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:49 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:49:34 GMT
    The driver on the wrong side of the highway on I-275 who slammed into a semi truck in Monroe County Wednesday night has been identified.
    The driver on the wrong side of the highway on I-275 who slammed into a semi truck in Monroe County Wednesday night has been identified.
  • All you need to know: Arts, Beats and Eats 2014

    All you need to know: Arts, Beats and Eats 2014

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:44:11 GMT
    Celebrating its 17th year and returning to the bustling streets of Royal Oak from Aug. 29 - Sept. 1, Ford Arts, Beats Eats presented by FirstMerit Bank will entertain thousands of visitors from across the region with its outstanding music line-up, stellar arts programming, mouthwatering selection of food, and a number of new attractions this Labor Day weekend.
    Celebrating its 17th year and returning to the bustling streets of Royal Oak from Aug. 29 - Sept. 1, Ford Arts, Beats Eats presented by FirstMerit Bank will entertain thousands of visitors from across the region with its outstanding music line-up, stellar arts programming, mouthwatering selection of food, and a number of new attractions this Labor Day weekend.
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Labor Day dishes by Chef Jason Tilmann

    Labor Day dishes by Chef Jason Tilmann

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:57:58 GMT
    If you're looking to beef up your Labor Day barbecue with something different, Chef Jason Tilmann, the executive chef at Strand Bistro in Midtown Manhattan, has some ideas and tips. Chef Tilmann demonstrated several dishes.
    If you're looking to beef up your Labor Day barbecue with something different, Chef Jason Tilmann, the executive chef at Strand Bistro in Midtown Manhattan, has some ideas and tips. Chef Tilmann demonstrated several dishes.
  • O'Neill Theater: where stars were born

    O'Neill Theater: where stars were born

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:37:42 GMT
    It's a running joke that if you mention the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center to nearly anyone in Hollywood they're going to know exactly what you're talking about because odds are they might have gotten their first big break there. Would you believe some Hollywood's biggest stars -- Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Angela Bassett -- got their start in a big red barn in the middle of nowhere.
    It's a running joke that if you mention the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center to nearly anyone in Hollywood they're going to know exactly what you're talking about because odds are they might have gotten their first big break there. Would you believe some Hollywood's biggest stars -- Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Angela Bassett -- got their start in a big red barn in the middle of nowhere.
  • Taxi hits and kills woman in Manhattan

    Taxi hits and kills woman in Manhattan

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:38 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:38:46 GMT
    A taxicab slammed into a woman on the Upper East Side, killing her, police said. The cab, driven by a 30-year-old man, made a left turn onto East 79 Street from Madison Avenue and hit the woman, who was trying to cross the street, the NYPD said.
    A taxicab slammed into a woman on the Upper East Side, killing her, police said. The cab, driven by a 30-year-old man, made a left turn onto East 79 Street from Madison Avenue and hit the woman, who was trying to cross the street, the NYPD said.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices