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.

  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


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

  • Manhattan West Project

    Skyline of West Side is changing

    Skyline of West Side is changing

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:25 PM EDT2014-07-22 22:25:22 GMT
    The Manhattan West Project is a $4.5 billion development that will change the skyline on the West Side. The five-acre site that will consist of office towers, a residential building, retail, a 5-star hotel, health and fitness facilities, rooftop gardens, restaurants, cafes, and a park is being built on top of active rail yards. Fox 5 got a look at the progress of the project.
    The Manhattan West Project is a $4.5 billion development that will change the skyline on the West Side. The five-acre site that will consist of office towers, a residential building, retail, a 5-star hotel, health and fitness facilities, rooftop gardens, restaurants, cafes, and a park is being built on top of active rail yards. Fox 5 got a look at the progress of the project.
  • Anaconda sightings in Lake Hopatcong reported

    Anaconda sightings in Lake Hopatcong reported

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:59:16 GMT
    Boaters in Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey are keeping an eye out for an unwanted visitor lurking underwater: a 14- or 15-foot-ong snake, possibly a green anaconda. Several people have seen the reptile, which has probably holed up in a drain pipe. Reptile specialists are also searching the lake for signs of the snake. So far no more sightings have been reported.
    Boaters in Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey are keeping an eye out for an unwanted visitor lurking underwater: a 14- or 15-foot-ong snake, possibly a green anaconda. Several people have seen the reptile, which has probably holed up in a drain pipe. Reptile specialists are also searching the lake for signs of the snake. So far no more sightings have been reported.
  • Suspect arrested in 1990s cold-case murders on Long Island

    Suspect arrested in 1990s cold-case murders on Long Island

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:00 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:00:17 GMT
    SCPD photoSCPD photo
    Authorities on Long Island have arrested a suspect in two cold case murders dating to the 1990s. John Bittrolff, a married father of two, is the lead suspect in the deaths of two prostitutes whose bodies were found within months of each other in late 1993 and early 1994, authorities said. Police arrested the 48-year-old, who was arraigned at the district court in Central Islip.
    Authorities on Long Island have arrested a suspect in two cold case murders dating to the 1990s. John Bittrolff, a married father of two, is the lead suspect in the deaths of two prostitutes whose bodies were found within months of each other in late 1993 and early 1994, authorities said. Police arrested the 48-year-old, who was arraigned at the district court in Central Islip.
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 | Terms of Service | Ad Choices