The man who sold his own pain pills to an informant
John Horner had no record of drug-dealing when he was sentenced to a 25-year mandatory minimum prison term for selling some of his own pain pills to an undercover informant who befriended him and told him he could not afford both his rent and his prescription medication.
The nominal player who earned a triple life sentence
Clarence Aaron was sentenced to three life-in-prison terms for his nominal role in a cocaine deal of introducing two dealers to one another for a fee of $1,500.
The medical marijuana grower
Chris Williams was running a Montana medical marijuana dispensary that was considered a model of compliance with state law when his dispensary was raided by federal agents. Faced 85 years.
The low-level courier
On four occasions, he ferried money and crack between dealers, for a total payment of $140. Solely because of the quantity of drugs involved, and because he had previous offenses for possession, he received a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.
“Guilty by association”
Mandy Martinson had slid into meth addiction after living with an abusive boyfriend. When she left her boyfriend, she moved in with a drug dealer who had a steady supply of methamphetamine. After a police search of their home, they were both charged and Mandy’s boyfriend testified against her at trial, saying that she assisted him, and that she possessed the gun found in the home. Ultimately, she was charged as both a conspirator and with possession of the gun, yielding a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, while her boyfriend was given just 12 years, even though the judge acknowledged at sentencing that she was subject to her boyfriend’s direction and control.