In the fall of 2011, then 87-year-old Leo Sharp of Michigan City, Indiana was pulled over in Washtenaw County near Chelsea for improper lane usage. In the course of the stop, it was discovered that Sharp had 104 bricks of cocaine in his vehicle, which were determined to be worth $2.9 million.
According to Sharp, drug dealers forced him to take the cocaine; he says he did so out of fear that the dealers would harm his children, grandchildren, or himself if he refused. Sharp was pulled over near Chelsea, about 60 miles west of Detroit. Sharp was transporting the cocaine from Arizona to Michigan, according to a news article at The Huffington Post. He was arraigned in November of 2011 on a charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Sharp was allegedly approached by an acquaintance of one of his employees, who asked him to pick up luggage containing cash in Raleigh, NC. He was then to drop the luggage off in Arizona, and pick up more money along with bricks of cocaine and a piece of paper instructing which exit to get off of in Detroit. At one point, Sharp said that he was “forced at gunpoint” to deliver the cocaine, although he told authorities he had not delivered the drugs or the money.
Michigan state police ultimately found the stash of illegal drugs in Sharp’s vehicle through the use of a drug-sniffing dog after Sharp denied a trooper’s request to search the vehicle. According to Ray Richards, Sharp’s attorney, it was his client’s first time in the court system.
Sharp pleaded not guilty to the charge and was released on bond. Sharp’s attorney attempted to have evidence thrown out of court, saying that the seizure of the drug was illegal because authorities had no probable cause to pull his client over. Recently, Detroit federal Judge Nancy Edmunds refused to throw out evidence; his trial is scheduled for October of this year.
Michigan drug possession lawyers know that the criminal penalties are extremely serious when an individual is convicted on a charge of drug possession with intent to deliver. Because Sharp is now 88 years old, if convicted he will likely spend the rest of his life in prison and be required to pay a huge fine.
Any individual who has been accused of drug possession or possession with intent must speak with a highly skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney at once. Even if you are under investigation and have not been arrested, it is important to take legal action now.