I-Team 10 update: Former Amerk McMorrow sent to prison
Posted at: 05/30/2012 8:57 AM
| Updated at: 05/30/2012 6:14 PM
By: Brett Davidsen | WHEC.com
Sean McMorrow knew how to electrify the crowd at Blue Cross Arena. As a member of the Rochester Amerks from 2002 to 2006, he was known as the team's enforcer and never backed down from a fight.
But today his fight for freedom ended as Judge David Larimer sentenced him to two years in federal prison after McMorrow pled guilty to a drug trafficking charge. McMorrow arrived at the courthouse with his mother, fiance and other family members at his side. He left alone in handcuffs.
McMorrow, a Canadian citizen, wiped tears from his eyes upon hearing the sentence. He will also be deported once he has completed his prison term.
Under the federal guidelines, McMorrow could have faced a possible 41 to 51 months in prison. Larimer said the guidelines were "too great" in imposing the lesser sentence.
Despite the more lenient prison sentence, McMorrow's attorney Larrry Kasperek said he was disappointed.
"What I tried to emphasize to the court is everybody makes mistakes. You can judge the character of an individual by how they recover from those mistakes, and I think Sean clearly has demonstrated a recovery worthy of more consideration," said Kasperek.
McMorrow was originally indicted in 2009. Federal authorities say he smuggled more than 100 kilograms (approximately 220 pounds) of marijuana through customs from Canada. Investigators say the trafficking occurred on several occasions from 2003 to 2005. In some cases, McMorrow brought the marijuana across the border in his hockey bag. Prosecutors have told I Team 10 they do not believe the incidents occurred while he was traveling with the Amerks.
30-year-old McMorrow also addressed the court and asked the judge to allow him to remain free, saying he had learned his lesson.
"I honestly accept responsibility for this case," he told the judge. "I have made some absolutely horrible choices."
McMorrow also pointed to his community work and commitment to young people. He was twice selected Amerk Man of the Year for his service to the community.
"Clearly what he has represented in his continual involvement in the community, commitment to helping other individuals, demonstrates that the crime was an aberration," said Kasperek.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Harvey said McMorrow's effort to use his community work as a basis for leniency was "disingenuous" and "arrogant."
"He was the organizer of the conspiracy. He was the leader of the conspiracy," said Harvey.
As he imposed the sentence, Judge Larimer scolded McMorrow saying the same kids he counseled, he was also putting at risk by bringing the drugs into the community.
"Preaching is one thing. Doing what you preach is another," said Larimer.