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Florida Keys smuggler will have to wait longer for a ‘compassionate’ release from prison

This is an undated recent photo of Richard ‘Dickie’ Lynn, who was convicted of multiple cocaine smuggling counts in the 1980s and remains in prison, even though his associates have been released for years for the same crimes.
This is an undated recent photo of Richard ‘Dickie’ Lynn, who was convicted of multiple cocaine smuggling counts in the 1980s and remains in prison, even though his associates have been released for years for the same crimes.

A federal judge was expected to decide Monday on the possible “compassionate” release of a Florida Keys cocaine smuggler who’s serving a life prison sentence for a 1989 conviction in Alabama, a case in which all other defendants involved were freed decades ago.

But, federal prosecutors Monday filed a request to seal the motion for release, they wrote, in order to protect the privacy of the defendant, Richard “Dickie” Lynn, because the document contains his health information.

Those advocating for his release, including Ken Davis, an Islamorada Village Council member and retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent, said the request to seal the motion is likely a bureaucratic measure to delay Lynn’s release until he turns 65 later this month instead of recommending his release.

“Being 65 or older is part of the compassionate release program,” Davis said Tuesday. “I believe the government wants the judge or the Bureau of Prisons to recommend his release. I believe BOP will do so when he’s 65.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Alabama, which did not respond for a request for comment, has blocked efforts to have Lynn released ever since his conviction, and his subsequent escape from a temporary holding facility. Federal prosecutors at the time recommended Lynn serve seven life sentences.

There were 22 other members of his smuggling outfit who were busted with him. All except one served 10 years in prison. The other man served 17 years, a longer sentence than the rest because he was considered the group’s enforcer, Davis said.

Davis theorizes that had Lynn not escaped (he was caught six months later planning another smuggling caper in Mississippi), he would have been released 13 years ago.

Friends and family — self-described as “Dickie’s Angels” — have a Facebook page and a change.org petition dedicated to winning Lynn’s freedom. The Village Council wrote a letter to President Donald Trump urging Lynn’s release in November.

“If they do release him, there will be quite the party in this town,” Davis said.

In the June 25 motion, which was still unsealed Tuesday, Lynn, 64, details his health problems, that include heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and atrial fibrillation. His heart disease is so severe that three arteries in his heart are 70% blocked, he wrote.

Lynn is serving his time at the Coleman federal penitentiary in Sumter County, and he said staff there is not able and equipped to deal with his medical issues.

“The healthcare providers at this facility are dangerously untrained and unprofessional, even by prison standards, and are routinely reassigned to other facilities because of lawsuits filed by inmates and outside lawyers,” Lynn wrote in his motion.

In the motion, Lynn describes waiting months to years to see medical specialists, and BOP staff not giving him prescribed medications following surgery, instead giving him Tylenol.

He said he also fears that should he have a heart attack or stroke, he’d die before staff could get him to a hospital.

“I would certainly die before anyone could reach me and get me from my housing unit to an outside hospital,” Lynn wrote.

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