De-Facto Life for Pot Prisoners: Antonio Bascaro #03846-021, the Longest Serving Marijuana Prisoner
Offense: Conspiracy to Import and Distribute Marijuana
Incarcerated Since: 1980
Priors: None: First Time Offender
Date of Birth: 10/22/1934
Sentence: 70 years (some of which runs concurrenty)
Scheduled Release: 2019
Family: 3 Children, 8 Grandchildren
About the Longest Serving Marijuana Prisoner, Antonio Bascaro, and His Case
Meet the nation’s longest serving marijuana prisoner, Antonio Bascaro, who has served over 35 years behind bars for a marijuana conspiracy offense. A former Cuban naval pilot who participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion, Bascaro fled Castro’s Cuba shortly thereafter. Now in his 80s, Antonio will be eligible for release in in the summer of 2019, but his daughter Aicha, who lost her father to prison when she 12 years old, fears that may be too late. The octogenarian grandfather is in poor health and suffers from severe back problems, glaucoma, and other ailments. Back surgery left him confined to a wheelchair for a period of time, but with the help of a walker he is slowly starting to get back on his feet.
Antonio’s “crime” involved no violence and no drugs aside from marijuana and his part in it was that of a minor player. He had no prior convictions. That’s right,just like John Knock, and Craig Cesal, Antonio Bascaro is a first time offender serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug crime.
Everyone involved in Antonio Bascaro’s case, including the true kingpin who ran the operation that used Cuban fishing boats to smuggle marijuana, have long been released. The only reason Antonio received such a harsh sentence is that he refused to “cooperate” and testify against others. Antonio Bascaro, who has been a model prisoner, is the only person from this case who remains behind bars.
In one of the most ironic, cruel and downright nonsensical twists of fate ever, the fact that his case is so old and he has been incarcerated for so long disqualifies Antonio Bascaro from any of the sentencing reduction and compassionate release programs recently put into place. Those who wrote the laws failed to take into account the possibility of inmates who have been warehoused away as long as Antonio. So while others might get Compassionate Release or a reduction in sentence, this nonviolent, first time marijuana offender must serve out his entire sentence (which will be over 39 years, if he makes it that long).
Nonetheless, Antonio’s family and supporters are lobbying for the President to grant him clemency, so he can spend what little time he has left with his loved ones.
More About the Longest Serving Marijuana Prisoner, Antonio Bascaro
- Getting to Know Antonio Bascaro
- How YOU Can Help Marijuana Lifer Antonio Bascaro
- Change.org Petition Supporting Antonio Bascaro’s Clemency (started by his daughter Aicha)
- Antonio Bascaro Facebook Page (managed by his daughter Aicha)
- Realities of Life for the Cannabis Convicted (Cannabis Now)
- Obama Has Granted More Clemencies Than Past 6 Presidents Combined (Mother Jones)
- Obama Just Granted Clemency to a Pot Lifer but Dozens More Remain Behind Bars (Mother Jones)
- Obama Commutes Two Marijuana Sentences and 44 Other Drug Offenders (Texas Cannabis Report)
- Antonio Bascaro, 80, The Nation’s Longest Serving Marijuana Prisoner (The Clemency Report)
- Free Antonio Bascaro, The Longest Serving Marijuana Prisoner in the US (High Times)
- Top Ten Outrageous Marijuana Sentences (The Clemency Report)
- 10 Shocking Facts About Pot Prisoners (Herb)
- A Pardon for Tommy Chong? Sure, but Let’s Get Our Priorities Straight (Civilized)