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British man sentenced in marijuana scheme

MOBILE (AP) — A British man who avoided extradition to the United States for about a decade has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for his role in a large-scale marijuana-smuggling scheme on the Gulf Coast in the 1980s.

Giles Carlyle-Clarke, 50, described in the British press as an aristocrat, sobbed as he apologized before being sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge William Steele.

Prosecutors cited Carlyle-Clarke's cooperation with investigators in departing from the usual 10-year minimum sentence. The judge also gave Carlyle-Clarke credit for nearly a year he spent in custody while fighting extradition.

Steele noted Carlyle-Clarke's "commendable" behavior since the 1986-1988 period when he was involved in the drug trade.

Carlyle-Clarke, who was delivered to U.S. officials by British authorities last summer, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy with intent to distribute marijuana. At Monday's sentencing, he voiced regret for the ordeal he caused his family.

``I've been a disgrace to them. ... I'm truly sorry, your honor. God forgive me,'' he said.

Carlyle-Clarke, who forfeited interest in his sailboat, the Can-Can, admitted making one trip each in 1986 and 1987 to St. Petersburg, Fla., from Jamaica with a 40-foot vessel filled with marijuana. He also traveled to a farmhouse on the Alabama coast in early 1988 to inspect drugs from an 8,000-pound shipment that another boat captain had delivered in a boat that sailed up Perdido Bay.

At the time, Carlyle-Clarke was working for Robert Delisser, who remains at-large and is the man authorities believe ran the smuggling operation. Carlyle-Clarke was one of more than 70 people indicted in the case by a federal grand jury in Mobile. His attorney said his drug profits, some $500,000, were lost to bad investments.

The Press-Register, which reported on the sentencing, said prosecutors previously had said they would not oppose Carlyle-Clarke if he wanted to serve his sentence in Britain. But defense attorney Jeff Deen said his client would do his time in the United States. He said he believes Carlyle-Clarke will be eligible to serve his sentence at a minimum-security institution.

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Information from: Press-Register, http://www.al.com/mobileregister

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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