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Bart Shoupe


19 Years 7 Months: Marijuana Conspiracy

I'm Bart Shoupe, age 45, single with no children. I was indicted in Texas on January 20, 1999 for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute marijuana. A superseding indictment in October 2000 named two others and me, again. Since I was not part of any conspiracy at all, I refused to plead guilty.

I never denied that I bought marijuana from my friend and that it was delivered to me in Ohio. However, I was not part of any conspiracy to distribute marijuana throughout the United States. There were nine others named in the 1999 indictment. I cope with a host of annoying, chronic health problems, and didn't turn myself into the authorities.

I was arrested at home in Canton, Ohio in February 2002 while recovering from a hernia operation and hospitalization for diabetes complications. At the time of my arrest I was a resident of Texas. I leased the Ohio apartment for my surplus and salvage business.

Seven of my co-defendants 'turned themselves in' or were arrested and ultimately pled guilty. After turning down the government's offer of 60 months in prison for a plea bargain, I was 'hit' by prosecutors with an enhancement for a prior felony possession of six pounds of marijuana. I served 12 months in a federal prison camp in 1991-1992 for that conviction.

At trial in 2003 the only evidence offered by the government were five witnesses and some traveling receipts -- no drugs. One witness was an unindicted co-conspirator who pled guilty to possession of marijuana and received 24 months. The so-called 'kingpin' in this superseding indictment received 240 months, less 60 months for cooperating in a money laundering case, and less yet for testifying against me. Mr. Kingpin had about eight prior felonies including armed robbery, but he was not 'enhanced' because he had no prior drug felonies.

According to the government, this type of case is called an"historical conspiracy." In March of 1996 the kingpin' s uncle was arrested after he was caught mailing about 38 lbs. of marijuana, and began cooperating with the government. The unindicted co-conspirator started cooperating in early 1997. Apparently, one other conspirator in North Carolina was arrested for holding about 50 lbs. of marijuana. None of the roughly 288 lbs. of 'weed' confiscated in this conspiracy had anything to do with me.

Mr. Kingpin testified that the conspiracy involved 7, 000 to 10,000 lbs. of marijuana. The judge never made a ruling about amount, but the probation officer used the kingpin's testimony to put my responsibility at 3,500 lbs.

My attorney asked for a ten-year sentence, but with the enhancement tacked on the total came to almost 20 years. The apartment at which Mr. Kingpin said he delivered marijuana in San Antonio, Texas wasn't even rented by me until after the conspiracy was alleged, and charges against my roommate were dropped after a Texas State judge ruled that the search warrant was illegally obtained.

In short, I am doing prison time because of lies, fabricated conspiracies, and violations of fair sentencing practices. I think my case illustrates very well the semi-secret character of drug prosecutions. I now know that my circumstances are not unusual within the mission of a federal War on Drugs that immobilizes and eats its captives in a web of win-by-any-means, coercive, you-against-me prosecutions.

I'd appreciate correspondence about any question(s) you may have for me.

Bart E. Shoupe 44194-080
FCI Big Spring/Sunset Unit
1900 Simler Ave
Big Spring, TX 79720

Updated 4/13/05

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