Two men have been fined $1 million each, and both have been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, following their convictions for trafficking in drugs.
Henry County Superior Court Judge William H. Craig handed down the penalties after a jury found Trevis Maltese Harpe and Earl Alphonso McCants guilty of trafficking cocaine. McCants was also found guilty of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Henry County Assistant District Attorney Trea Pipkin prosecuted the case for the state. Christina Kempter represented McCants. Harpe was represented by Henry County Assistant Public Defender Gerald Privin.
A jury found both men guilty on Thursday.
In addition to the fines, Judge Craig sentenced McCants to 30 years, 25 of which are scheduled to be served in prison, along with five years on probation. Harpe was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
According to Major Chad Rosborough, leader of the Flint Circuit Drug Task Force, the drug-trafficking code mandates a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison, and a $1 million fine in such high-level cases.
“The million-dollar fines are unreasonable,” said Privin. “I think most defense attorneys, probation officers, judges and district attorneys would agree that those fines are not collectable. Most defendants will not have the ability to pay those fines.
“That’s something that needs to be changed by the legislature, the sentence was a mandatory minimum sentence, which leaves no discretion to the judge,” added Privin.
The drug case stemmed from a traffic stop by Henry County Police, on I-75, March 26, 2011. Officers found the drugs with McCants, 30, and Harpe, 32, according to a police report.
At the time of their arrest, police said, McCants, who was the passenger in the car, had $4,367 on him, and Harpe, the driver of the red Ford Expedition, had $1,587. According to a police report, officers found a “white powdery substance suspected to be cocaine.” The suspected cocaine field-tested positive and weighed approximately 2.2 pounds, according to the report. Police also found a Silver/black Taurus revolver, which was loaded.