Why would a Michigan police officer want to search a pickup driven by an 87-year-old man only detained for following another vehicle too closely and an improper lane change? No doubt an 87-year-old man does not usually fit the typical drug offender profile. This may be one of the many questions that will need to be investigated after an incident near Ann Arbor led to the filing of federal drug charges against an elderly man from Michigan City, Indiana was pulled over by officers.
Once the officers pulled the man’s vehicle over, they say they asked him for permission to search the truck. The man is said to have refused. A drug sniffing dog then was dispatched to the scene and alerted officers to the back of the vehicle. The dog found 229 pounds of cocaine, valued at $2.9 million, stuffed into black bags in the bed of the pickup. As a result, the man is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
Before his lawyer told him to be quiet, the man began to explain to the federal District Court judge that he was forced at gunpoint to haul the cocaine. While no further details were disclosed, what is clear is that conviction carries with it a term in federal incarceration of at least 10 years. Such a sentence would essentially amount to a death penalty for an 87-year-old man.
The man has already retained an attorney and will need to rely upon him for guidance in navigating the federal criminal court system. Drug charges are serious business at any age, and a lawyer fully cognizant of federal law and procedure, may help level the playing field. The attorney can ensure that vital legal rights are protected and potential evidence challenged, while fighting for an equitable resolution based upon the actual facts and circumstances proven in court.
Source: The Freep, “87-year-old charged with hauling cocaine in his pickup,” Tresa Baldas, Oct. 25, 2011