Elisa Castillo, a 56 year old grandmother, has been convicted in a Texas court room of trying to smuggle more than a ton of cocaine from Mexico to the United States. Even though she never killed anyone, nor seemed to have any knowledge of the drugs and it was her first offense she was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole today according to the Huffington Post.
Castillo says she was duped by a friend who wanted to start a bus company running routes between Mexico and Houston. Prosecutors say she knew what was going on because drugs had been found on the buses before.
The Houston Chronicle points out,
“[Castillo] is serving a longer sentence than some of the hemisphere’s most notorious crime bosses — men who had multimillion-dollar prices on their heads before their capture.”
Castillo’s attorney David Biles told the Huffington Post when asked if Castillo is a threat to society,
“Heck, no. That’s just not right”
A statement from the ACLU says,
“… Castillo maintains that she didn’t know she was being used as a pawn in a cocaine trafficking operation between Mexico and Houston. Given her alleged role as a low-level player in the conspiracy, it makes sense that she was not privy to — and therefore could not provide — any valuable information to federal agents that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of the leaders or other high level members of the alleged conspiracy. Since she was of no help to the government, Castillo received the harshest sentence of the approximately 68 people involved in the scheme …”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas said in response,
“Ms. Castillo elected to exercise her right and proceed to trial,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. “After hearing all the evidence as presented from both the government and defense in this case, the jury found her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. As a result, the court sentenced her to the applicable term of imprisonment after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.”