The Grand Isle County State’s Attorney is reacting to last week’s sentence of a convicted fentanyl trafficker, saying he thinks Michael Larrow, Sr. deserved more than probation for his crimes.
Grand Isle County State’s Attorney Doug DiSabito says he’s “beyond disappointed” in the sentence handed to Larrow, who he says is a habitual offender. He believes this case could be setting a precedent for future drug cases.
Michael Larrow, Sr. of Grand Isle County appeared in court last week for a contested sentencing hearing related to charges of fentanyl trafficking and sale or distribution of heroin. Larrow pleaded no contest to fentanyl trafficking and guilty to the sale or distribution of heroin on June 22, 2023.
Larrow was sentenced to four years of probation for fentanyl trafficking and four years probation for heroin sales. The judge said Larrow was a “street-level dealer” and suspended 2-5 year prison terms for each crime.
DiSabito says Larrow was first convicted of a drug-related felony in 1991.
“Given the habitual offender enhancement, I asked the court, or I suggested the proper sentence would be 15 years to life on the fentanyl trafficking, and 15 years to life on the heroin sale, and a $25,000 fine,” notes DiSabito.
“The court had the option, or had the authority, to sentence this defendant, up to and including life in prison, as well as a $1,250,000 fine,” says DiSabito.
But he says the Court ruled much differently.
“Somebody that’s convicted of trafficking fentanyl, somebody that’s convicted of selling or distributing heroin, somebody that was acknowledged by the Court, the State, and the defense, that he was a habitual criminal with three prior felonies,” says DiSabito, “walked out of the courthouse without any to-serve jail sentence, without a penny of a fine, and potentially could be discharged from probation in two years.”
According to court transcripts, Vermont Superior Court Judge Samuel Hoar, Jr. said in the sentencing, despite the nature of the crime, “there is no suggestion in any of those materials that Mr. Larrow at any time has been other than, I believe the term that’s been used, is a street-level dealer who was selling narcotics to support his own habit.”
The transcript goes on to read: “Mr. Larrow is here today accepting responsibility for that behavior. And his behavior over the last two years reflects that. And it is to your credit, Mr. Larrow, and it is the Court’s great hope that behavior and that acceptance of responsibility will continue.”
But DiSabito says he thinks Larrow deserved a tougher sentence.
“This is dangerous, dangerous behavior, and a sentence like this, I’m very worried that it’s going to encourage or embolden people that are already engaged in this to continue to do it, or potentially expand their area to Grand Isle County,” says DiSabito.
DiSabito says his goal was to protect the public from drug sales that could lead to fatalities from a growing fentanyl market.
“I respect the decision by the Court, I have to, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with the decision,” says DiSabito, “especially when the community here, I can say with full confidence that the majority of our community, based on my interaction with them on a day-to-day basis, they expect more than this.”
DiSabito says he believes the case could be used as a precedent in future drug-related cases and worries future drug traffickers that appear in court might get a similar sentence.