Man, 87, nabbed with 228 pounds of cocaine, police say

Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:08am EDT

(Reuters) - An 87-year-old Indiana man was arraigned on drug charges in federal court in Detroit on Monday after police found 228 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $2.9 million in his pickup following a routine traffic stop.

A state trooper patrolling Interstate 94 near Ann Arbor pulled over Leo Earl Sharp on Friday for following too closely and executing an improper lane change, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

When the trooper asked Sharp if he could search the truck, the octogenarian refused. So the trooper requested a backup unit with a dog trained to detect bombs and illegal drugs.

As the animal walked around the rear of Sharp's truck, it alerted to the possible presence of narcotics, the complaint said. During a subsequent search of the truck bed, troopers found 104 bricks of cocaine stashed in five bags.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Randon released Sharp, of Michigan City, Indiana, on $10,000 bond on Monday and scheduled a next hearing in the case for November.

Sharp was charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. If convicted, he faces at least 10 years in prison.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher and Cynthia Johnston)

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