|Pedro Delgado Sánchez|
After I listened to Martin E. Crandall, Steven Ingersoll's defense attorney, dismiss the government’s talk of “conspiracy” by raising lurid images of Colombian drug gangs and New York City's Gambino family as “real conspiracies”, it sounded to Miss Fortune that Crandall was speaking from real-world professional experience—and he was.
In his attempt to convince the jury that an “optometrist and his wife, who runs a B&B” were just part of a “bumbling, unsophisticated group of friends and relatives” who simply banded together in a group effort to “get it done”, Crandall seemed to imply there was no way a jury could compare this bunch to “real criminals” like those populating drug gangs.
And Crandall should know—in 2012 he represented a Florida man operating as part of the drug organization headed by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Guzman was described by Mexican officials as the country's biggest drug lord, and headed the infamous Sinaloa Cartel based in Sinaloa, Mexico until his arrest in February 2014. Guzman was worth more than $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine, and had eluded authorities since his 2001 escape from prison in a laundry truck.
In March 2012, eighteen alleged members of the Mexican-based Sinaloa Cartel, alleged to have distributed between 100 and 300 kilograms of cocaine a month in the metropolitan Detroit area, were indicted for conspiracy to distribute in excess of 800 kilograms.
The indictment was part of one returned in 2011 that alleged an Indiana man, Leo Earl Sharp, was a main carrier for the ring and was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after a Oct. 21, 2011, traffic stop of Sharp on I-94 in Washtenaw County, in which more than 100 bricks of cocaine were found in his car.
Members of the organization resided in Mexico, Florida, California and Michigan. Shipments of cocaine would be received at the Arizona Mexico border, and then driven to Michigan.
Members would meet at a warehouse in Wyandotte, Michigan, where multi-kilo quantities of cocaine would be unloaded and distributed to individual members, with some members receiving as much as 100 kilograms of cocaine per shipment.
At the warehouse, drug proceeds would be packaged and loaded into vehicles, including a recreational vehicle that would be driven by drug couriers to the Mexican border.
A TALENTED AND HARD-WORKING IMMIGRANT...
According to public records, Pedro Delgado Sánchez, 47, was a chef who, along with his wife, owned a Mexican food company called El Rinconcito Mexican Catering and lived in a two-story single-family home in the Forest Lakes Gardens subdivision of the Miami suburb West Kendall, Florida.
But federal investigators at the time said that Delgado Sánchez was leading a double life. Federal court papers indicated that Delgado Sánchez helped coordinate deliveries of significant amounts of cocaine between Tucson, Arizona, and Detroit.
Delgado Sánchez’s attorney, Martin E. Crandall, described his client as a “talented and hard-working immigrant” caught in the activities of others of which he was initially not aware. He said Delgado Sánchez was arrested as a result of phone conversations U.S. investigators intercepted between him and other defendants implicating them in drug-trafficking.
Delgado Sánchez’s role in the case emerged after drug mule Sharp was arrested, prosecuted and convicted in Detroit. Sharp’s conviction drew national attention, but Delgado Sánchez’s role was largely overlooked.
Delgado Sánchez was reportedly the drug delivery coordinator for Sharp. The New York Times reported that investigators linked Delgado Sánchez to Ramón Ramos, ostensibly a bookkeeper for the trafficking group, which was allegedly part of the Sinaloa cartel. Ramos cooperated with the DEA in unraveling the case, according to the Times.
When investigators searched Sharp’s truck after police pulled him over on I-94 near Kalamazoo, Michigan, in October 2011, the Times reported, they found a scrap of paper with a Miami phone number, and traced the number to Delgado Sánchez.
Delgado Sánchez ultimately pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to 84 months in a federal penitentiary and five years of supervised release.
And how did his attorney, Martin E. Crandall, spin that?
“He wanted to put this behind him, so he could move on with his life,” said Crandall, who noted that descriptions of his client as a top-level Sinaloa cartel member were erroneous.
At least Crandall didn't say Delgado Sánchez was bumbling and unsophisticated!