For the second time this month, President Barack Obama on Tuesday commuted the life sentence of a major cocaine trafficker who operated out of Akron in the 1990s.
James Dillehay was sentenced to life in prison in September 1993 for operating a cocaine ring that grossed as much as $100,000 a month. Obama commuted his sentence to 30 years, which means he has seven more years to serve in federal prison before he is released in 2023.
This followed the president’s Aug. 3 decision to commute the life sentence of Ervin Darnell Worthy. Worthy, 51, will be released Aug. 3, 2017, 21 years after he was imprisoned.
Worthy and an accomplice, Duane “Nip” Guess, were arrested in 1995 as part of a crackdown on a drug trafficking ring that was shipping cocaine into Ohio from New York. Guess was sentenced to 20 years in prison and was released in August 2012.
Dillehay, 71, was among 111 people across the country, including three out of Ohio, whose sentences were reduced by the president Tuesday.
Dillehay, then 48, was among 19 drug dealers charged federally in a 1992 cocaine investigation. Akron police and FBI agents at the time described him as a “local drug kingpin.” He was charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.
U.S. District Judge Sam Bell sentenced Dillehay to life without parole, noting Dillehay’s two previous drug convictions and the large quantity of drugs involved. Dillehay faced 10 years to life in prison.
Court records described Dillehay as the head of an Akron drug ring that often employed Akron teens.
At the time of his arrest, Dillehay had no legitimate job, but owned at least five homes in Akron and six cars, including two Lincoln Continentals.
Dillehay, however, maintained his innocence in court and said he planned to appeal.