Judge Says He Can’t Release 94-Year-Old Prisoner

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A judge in Los Angeles says he doesn’t have the authority to free one of the oldest inmates in the federal prison system.

Ninety-four-year-old Carlos Tapia-Ponce is doing life for running a Colombia-to-Los Angeles drug trafficking operation. His attorney says he has had heart problems and should be allowed to spend what time he has left with his family in Mexico.

But according to City News Service, Judge Terry Hatter said Wednesday only the federal Bureau of Prisons can reduce Tapia-Ponce’s sentence to time served.

Tapia-Ponce was convicted in 1990 after $12 million and more than 21 tons of cocaine were found at a warehouse in Sylmar, California. It was the largest cocaine seizure in U.S. history.

Tapia-Ponce is currently at a Bureau of Prisons medical facility in North Carolina.

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