Lombard man granted clemency by Trump

A Lombard man serving a life sentence for participating in a drug conspiracy was granted clemency late Tuesday by President Donald Trump and said he plans to help free other people behind bars for marijuana convictions.

Craig Cesal, 61, got in trouble for leasing tractor-trailers to marijuana smugglers almost two decades ago. Late Tuesday, the White House announced that Trump had commuted Cesal's sentence.

In 2002, U.S. border agents found 1,500 pounds of pot in a secret compartment in one of his trucks at a checkpoint in Laredo, Texas. Federal drug agents followed the truck to Georgia, where the pot was delivered.

Cesal said one of the biggest advocates for his release was Alice Johnson, who got a full pardon from Trump last year. She was sentenced to life in prison for her involvement in a Memphis cocaine-trafficking ring.

Cesal plans to travel. In addition to visiting the South on a motorcycle, he'd like to go to the western United States to thank people in the marijuana industry there who've advocated for his release.

• This report was produced in partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times. For related coverage, visit

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