gets life in prison for bribing juror
By Madeline Baró Diaz
Posted January 23 2003
Sal Magluta, the reputed drug kingpin who dodged government authorities for decades, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.
Magluta, before being convicted of money laundering and bribing a juror in his 1996 drug-trafficking trial, was sentenced to the maximum term of 205 years in federal prison and fined $62.9 million.
"For over two decades Mr. Magluta has poisoned our district with cocaine he trafficked," U.S. Attorney Marcos Jimenez told U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz in his request for the stiffest jail term. "Mr. Magluta indeed bought himself an acquittal. In doing so, he caused grave damage to our system of justice. Today's sentence will send the unmistakable message that justice in our court cannot be bought."
A federal court jury convicted Magluta in August of conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to disobey a court order that he not spend any drug proceeds on his defense. The jury cleared him of ordering the murders of three witnesses -- sparing him a mandatory life sentence.
But the man authorities once described as a cocaine cowboy will serve a life term because Seitz ordered him to serve consecutive sentences on 12 counts.
The sentences ranged from five years on one count to 20 years on each of nine counts; Magluta also received a 10-year sentence on each of two counts. The fine includes $15 million and a house that the jury determined Magluta had to forfeit because they were linked to a conspiracy to launder drug trafficking proceeds.
In an emotional speech sprinkled with quotes from the Bible, a Scottish proverb and other refrains, Magluta, 48, apologized, to his family, the community, the country and the court.
"If I were not to share my thoughts I would have been less than honest before your honor," he said. "There's wrongs, and plenty of them, that I have committed."
He choked up as he addressed his family and friends, who filled up three rows in the courtroom. He told his daughter to "have faith. I will walk you down the aisle one day."
To his parents, his aunt and his uncle, Magluta said, "You deserved much better for the way you all raised me. I have failed you in every way possible, and for that I am so sorry."
However, Magluta did not detail the "wrongs" he committed and said he was speaking against his attorneys' wishes. One of his attorneys, Benson Weintraub, asked the judge for a more lenient sentence because Magluta had accepted responsibility.
"Ordinarily I might do that, Mr. Weintraub, because I do believe I have seen a remarkable step forward by Mr. Magluta," Seitz said. But the judge said that leniency was not an option because Magluta had decades to take different paths in his life and stuck to crime.
"You did not choose those paths," Seitz told Magluta. "You are an individual of great potential, of incredible gifts ... and it saddens me greatly that the choices that you made have squandered the maximum use of those talents."
Magluta's attorneys, who said they would file an appeal, had sought a sentence of about 20 years that took into account the 10 years Magluta already has spent in prison on bail jumping, passport fraud and other charges. They cited the jury's decision not to convict Magluta of murder in their pleas.
Instead the judge chose what amounted to a murder sentence for nonviolent crimes, defense attorney Jack Denaro said.
In the 1980s, Magluta and his partner Willie Falcon, were the masterminds of a huge cocaine enterprise that used a boat-racing team and a softball team as cover for a cocaine importing operation that spanned the globe, prosecutors say. Since 1989, federal authorities have been after Magluta and Falcon, accusing them of making more than $2 billion in drugs between 1978 and 1991.
Federal prosecutors tried Magluta in 1996 on drug trafficking charges that could have sent him to prison for life, but the jury acquitted him. Afterwards, federal investigators determined Magluta had paid a $500,000 bribe to the jury foreman and $3 million to another juror.
Since then, Magluta has attended church and participated in Bible study, two character witnesses testified on Wednesday.
Rhett Cili, a teaching leader for Bible Study Fellowship International, said he visits with Magluta every week.
"He is a loving, caring individual," Cili said. "Mr. Magluta is a man that needs mercy."
That perception of Magluta was countered by prosecutor Michael Davis, who told Seitz that Magluta's actions brought "harm and ruin" to many lives. Magluta's drug trafficking created addicts and some of those addicts went on to commit violent crimes, he said.
"He sits here with blood on his hands," Davis said.
Jaun?? or even Juan?
Silence is golden!
It's a little too late for the silence to have been golden. Would have been interesting to see the old school boys getting hit with constant new rule changes. never mind that would not have ever happened.
Don't try to race offshore unless you have unlimited funds
[QUOTE]Originally posted by lucy
B]FREE WILLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [/B][
Good one!! (This may be a topic next month)
i graduated high school in miami w/ his son chris and nephew in 1991, we used to play raquet ball all the time... now i know why he was driving a brand new 300zx twin turbo at age 17... good kid he really didnt know wha twas going on i think cause he was living w/ his grand parents since he was young
maybe hell gat lucky and end up as bennys cellmate so that they can have a lot to talk about
As i recall, there was never a Juan as the navigator... maybe im wrong...but... i was there...
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