ITeam

I-Team update: 89-year-old Indiana cocaine mule pleads guilty

Monday, October 14, 2013

The ABC7 I-Team has an update on an 89-year-old Indiana man with an unusual job: cocaine courier for a Mexican cartel. Leo Sharp was busted a year and a half ago, and now at age 89, has pleaded guilty.

ABC7's investigative reporter Chuck Goudie interviewed the world's oldest drug mule right after he was busted.

Leo Sharp got into the illegal drug business late in life-- in his mid-80's. Becoming a drug mule for the Sinaloa cartel was a second career for Sharp, who was known around the world as a champion producer of day lilies. The jovial Michigan City, Ind. man is looking at prison time, although he has promised the I-Team never to be taken alive.

"My doctor tells me that I will live to be 100. But I won't live to be 100 if I am sentenced to prison. I'm just going to end it all. Period," said Leo Sharp, drug mule, in a March 2012 interview with the I-Team.

Shortly after Leo Sharp was taken down in federal drug indictments, he made that promise if he were to be sentenced to prison. According to this guilty plea signed by Sharp, he will be sentenced to prison, next February, just shy of his 90th birthday.

"I'm known all over the planet, and I'm talking about all over the planet," said Sharp.

Although his epitaph may read "World's oldest drug mule," in his previous decades Sharp was known for raising day lilies, not transporting cocaine, although his philosophy saw little difference.

"All God's plants that cheer people up are created for a purpose. To take depressed peoples' minds and make them feel good," said Sharp.

Federal law looks at it differently. In 2011, he was pulled over in Michigan by the state police and later charged with delivery of cocaine for the Sinaloa cartel, 670 kilos since 2009.

"Because an old man is not gonna be bothered by cops, driving through Arizona," said Sharp.

"But you were bothered in Michigan," said ABC7's Chuck Goudie.

"I was busted up there, obviously," said Sharp.

"Did you know that was cocaine in your van?" asked Goudie.

"I did. I did," said Sharp.

At first he planned to fight the charges. Now with a guilty plea and facing prison, these words hang over the case.

"I'm just going to end it all. Period," said Sharp.

Goudie asks, "What do you mean you're going to end it all?"

"I'm going to get a [expletive] gun and shoot myself in the mouth or my ear, one or the other. I won't live in a toilet with bars, ever," said Sharp.

Although the federal guidelines could have Leo Sharp sentenced to 17 years, prosecutors will ask for five in consideration of his age and otherwise clean criminal history.

The suicide threat not-withstanding, Sharp agrees in his plea deal that he will be housed at a federal prison medical facility, probably Rochester, Minnesota.

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