Earl Rinehart The Columbus Dispatch @esrinehart
Carlos E. Herrera had done everything right after his arrest for hauling marijuana in big rigs from Tucson, Arizona, to Columbus, his attorney said.
He showed up for every court hearing even though he lives in the Jacksonville, Florida, area. He stayed out of trouble while on pretrial release after his arrest in January. And he pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
Now that his wife is ill with Lyme disease, Herrera asked for “mercy” at his sentencing hearing Tuesday to continue his long-haul trucking business so that she and their three young children don’t end up homeless. He would drive the same rig he used to transport three marijuana loads of up to 3,000 pounds each.
“I put my whole family at risk,” Herrera told U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson on Tuesday. “I regret it.”
Defense attorney Regina Griffith asked Watson to impose probation instead of prison, saying that Herrera had no prior criminal record.
Watson handed down a three-year prison term.
Outside the courtroom, Griffith said that Herrera unintentionally