The story of a silver-haired “drug mule” could soon hit the silver screen. Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad) has been hired to direct the true story of Leo Sharp, an Indiana man caught running drugs for Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, who was sent to prison at age 90 this year. Sharp had been one of the Cartel’s most prolific drug couriers.
Imperative Entertainment acquired the rights to Sam Dolnick’s New York Times article “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule.” As the inspiration for this project, the article explains how the WWII hero and award-winning horticulturalist was tracked down by FBI Agents, with only the nickname Tata, or Grandfather, to work with during the investigation.
According to conversations secretly recorded by Federal wiretaps, fellow drug dealers jokingly called Sharp “grandfather” and the “old man”, and expressed concern about his mental state. During his trial, Sharp’s lawyers convinced the jury that his dementia had sent him on the wrong path. Additionally, during his sentencing in a federal court, Sharp told U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds, “All I can tell you, your honor, is I’m really heartbroken that I did what I did, but it’s done.”
The 90-year-old man received only three years following the trial, and since he threatened to commit suicide if sent to prison, he is currently serving the sentence in a federal medical center in Minnesota.
Fleischer, who burst on to the scene with Zombieland (2009), has been struggling to match that success ever since. Follow-ups 30 Minutes or Less (2011), Gangster Squad (2013), and Two Night Stand (2014) have all been somewhat disappointing, and so he’ll try once again to rebound with this new movie. A search for a screenwriter is currently ongoing, and as more news on the project breaks, we will of course bring it to you.