89-year-old World War II veteran Leo Sharp may not strike you as the hardcore drug dealing type, but make no mistake: prior to being busted, this grandpa was moving some serious product.
Sharp was arrested in 2011 after police found over 200 pounds of cocaine in his car. Sharp later admitted to detectives that he’s sold drugs for the last 14 years and estimates he’s trafficked over 1,400 pounds of drugs during that time.
Now, with his 90th birthday approaching, Sharp is hoping his old age can help him avoid prison. With his sentencing date looming, Sharp’s attorney is arguing that the elderly veteran should be spared jail time because he suffers from dementia. Attorney Darryl Goldberg also argues Sharp's drug offenses are “an aberration from a law-abiding life.”
“He is a colorful, self-made, charitable man who has worked hard throughout this entire admirable, extraordinary, and long life,” Goldberg said. “Mr. Sharp made a monumental mistake at a moment of perceived financial weakness, and was exploited and threatened, but his conduct in this case was truly an aberration from a law-abiding life.”
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Sharp was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Italy during WWII. The Bronze Star is the nation’s fourth-highest individual military honor.
Sharp told police he was blackmailed into continuing to sell drugs after his first run. He says he was threatened with violence and retaliation from others in his trafficking network when he tried to stop selling drugs.
Goldberg says Sharp is “dreadfully sorry” for his offenses. Federal prosecutors will have the opportunity to make sentencing recommendations for Sharp in the coming weeks.