Court gets tough on ca­reer crim­i­nal

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

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

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