Ninety-year old WWII bronze star winner Leo Sharp has been sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for his part in a major cocaine distribution ring. Federal agents discovered Sharp by recording telephone conversations between other suspects in an investigation of the conspiracy and arrested him on a Michigan highway with $3 million worth of cocaine in his pickup truck. According to US district judge Nancy Edmunds, if she didn't send Sharp to prison for his crime, drug dealers would get the wrong message, being: "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."
Is the logic of that statement correct? Does Mr. Drug Dealer look at his operation and think that if the distribution network is composed of geriatrics, they might receive lesser punishments than their younger counterparts and then ...go right back to work dealing drugs? Drug dealers probably try to hire people that they can rely upon that are unlikely to stand out as stereotypical criminals. If these underlings are apprehended, it's all over for them. Mr. D.D. loses these employees for a long time. But then he gets others. The "War on Drugs", an expensive failure, has never discouraged the participation of those willing to take a chance on its rewards. Sending a 90 year-old to the big house is unlikely to change that dynamic.