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90-year-old WWII vet sentenced to 3 years in prison for running cocaine

Judge: "This is a huge drug operation and Mr. Sharp was right in the middle of it. It would be weak for me to say, ‘Well, he’s an old man ...’ I think respect for the law requires there be some custody in this case.”
By JC Sevcik   |   May 7, 2014 at 6:27 PM   |   Comments

DETROIT, May 7 (UPI) -- A 90-year-old World War II veteran was sentenced to three years in a federal prison today for hauling more than a ton of cocaine into Michigan for a Mexican Drug Cartel.

The nonagenarian drug mule was received the sentence on his birthday, just moments after pleading for mercy and confessing his plans to end his own life rather than spend his twilight behind bars.

“I’m really heartbroken I did what I did. But it’s done,” he said. “I won’t live in prison, I’m just going to end my life if I end up there.”

Darryl Goldberg, Sharp’s Lawyer, argued it would be “cruel and thoughtless” to send his client to prison because he is old and frail and suffers from dementia and also happens to be a war hero (Sharp received a Bronze Star in WWII).

But U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds was unmoved by Sharp’s age, his birthday, or his military service and declined to show mercy, saying “It’s not a victimless crime. This is a huge drug operation and Mr. Sharp was right in the middle of it. It would be weak for me to say, ‘Well, he’s an old man ...’ I think respect for the law requires there be some custody in this case.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, Goldberg pleaded, saying “Mr. Sharp is part of a great generation…before we were even born, he was on top of mountains fighting Nazis. That’s not how we honor our heroes whether they’ve fallen from grace or not,” and went on to claim that Sharp was brainwashed and bullied into continued cooperation by the cartel.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Graveline called Sharp a “willing participant” who “needs to receive some prison time.”

Edmunds agreed and claimed not jailing sharp would send the wrong message to drug cartels: “If you want to inoculate your organization from punishment … get an elderly person to do your deliveries for you because they’re not going to go to prison for it.”

Follow @JCSevcik and @UPI on Twitter.
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