War on drugs: Grandma gets life sentence

Elisa Castillo Life In Prison56 year old Elisa Castillo, a grandmother with no criminal record, was sentenced to 68 years in prison on a drug offense.

Authorities claim Elisa drove a tour bus from Mexico to Houston, TX on numerous occasions, and that the bus was carrying cocaine and large amounts of cash across the border. They say Elisa knowingly participated in the drug-running scheme, and charged her accordingly.

Elisa, however, claims she was asked by a Mexican resident to drive the bus as part of his tour-bus company, and says she knew nothing about the drugs or the cash that was hidden on-board. Prosecutors doubt this, pointing out that money and drugs had been found on the bus in the past, and Elisa continued to drive it.

Initially offered a plea deal, Elisa could have escaped a life sentence, had she turned over the names of higher operatives, people who were masterminding the conspiracy. Elisa, claiming she had no idea there was any illegal activity occurring on the bus at all, was unable to give authorities any names. As a result, the prosecution tried her, the jury convicted her, and the judge sentenced her using non-mandatory guidelines.

What did the grandma know about the drug running?

Was her sentence appropriate, or has the war on drugs become futile?

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