Court gets tough on career criminal
Palestinian clown Alaa Miqdad, 33, entertains three-year-old patient Yaqin Shawaf, who suffers from dialysis, in the department of kidney diseases at Al Rantisi children’s hospital in Gaza City. An 80-year-old man has been jailed for 10 years for running a sprawling marijuanadealing operation that covered several US states for decades.
Marshall Dion pleaded guilty last year to drug and money-laundering charges and was sentenced this week in Massachusetts in the latest chapter in a long, colourful history with law enforcement.
In 1985, he crashed a singleengine plane he was piloting in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, breaking both his ankles. When sheriff’s deputies arrived, he was crawling along a muddy field as money floated in the air. The government was allowed to keep nearly $112,000 in cash recovered from the crash scene after a judge found it was likely drug proceeds, but Dion was not charged criminally.
When police in Junction City, Kansas, stopped him for speeding in 2013, they found about $828,000 in cash in his pick-up truck. A federal investigation led authorities to Massachusetts and Arizona, where they found about $15 million in cash, nearly 180kg of marijuana and ledgers detailing drug deals going back to 1992.
Earlier this month, US District Judge Denise Casper rejected a plea agreement that called for a five to seven-year prison sentence for Dion. His lawyers then reached a new agreement with prosecutors that called for a sentence range of five to 10 years. Judge Denise Casper sentenced him to the maximum during a hearing in US District Court.
Dion has been in custody since his arrest in 2013, so he has already served 2 1/2 years of his sentence. He declined to address the court during his sentencing hearing.
Dion’s lawyer, Hank Brennan, recommended a five-year sentence. He said Dion was nonviolent and lived a simple life, despite the large quantities of cash his business made.
“He didn’t have that lure of greed and power and oppression. He is a simple man who lived a very routine and habit-filled life,” Brennan said after the hearing. Prosecutors recommended a sentence of a little over six years.
JAILED: Marshall Dion