Mason County needs to get tougher on drug dealers.

November 16, 2017

Mason County needs to get tougher on drug dealers.

Editorial by Rob Alway, editor-in-chief.

It’s time Mason County’s court system sends a message to drug dealers that their crimes will not be tolerated here. On Tuesday, a 31-year-old Hamlin Township woman received a one year jail sentence in 51st Circuit Court for the delivery of heroin. The defendant will serve six months in the Mason County Jail (the remainder of the sentence is discretionary) for selling heroin on the streets of our county. Yes, you read that correctly, six months!

Randi Granger sold the drugs to an undercover officer from SSCENT, a multiple jurisdiction team that stands for State, Sheriffs, Chiefs Enforcement of Narcotics Team. Our tax dollars pay for this team to spend countless hours investigating these crimes, making arrests, only to see the criminals released from jail a few months later. SSCENT, along with our local law enforcement agencies are making the arrests. I believe the courts need to uphold those arrests and get tougher.

Mason County, and much of our nation, has an opioid problem. There are many reasons why people become addicted to the drug, many of whom were prescribed medicine for pain treatment. Those people truly need rehabilitation and perhaps their addictions should not be viewed as criminal (that’s a different conversation). However, those who prey off of the addicts by selling the drugs are criminals and it’s time Mason County’s court system sends a message that we will not tolerate these crimes here anymore.

Like most defendants who go through the court system, Granger made a plea agreement with the prosecutor. This is a common practice which makes sense, to a certain point. Court trials cost thousands of dollars and require juries. But, plea agreements could certainly be harsher.

The maximum sentence for possession of up to 50 grams of heroin (which is the crime that Granger committed), is 20 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine. In addition, Granger was charged with the sale of cocaine. Those charges were dropped in exchange for a guilty plea on the heroin charge. I’m not an attorney and I didn’t go to law school, but, I would say that since the maximum sentence is 20 years, there’s a lot of wiggle room there for the prosecutor to offer in between six months and 20 years.

Let’s send these criminals to prison for years not months in the county jail.

If you are unhappy with these light sentences, you need to make your voice heard beyond social media post comments. Write a letter to the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office and also to the 51st Circuit Court. Let our prosecutor and judge know that it’s time we take a tough stance on these drug dealers. Contact your state legislators and tell them that it’s time we require tougher minimum sentences with plea agreements.

  • Paul Spaniola, Mason County Prosecuting Attorney, 304 E. Ludington Ave., Ludington, MI 49431;
  • Judge Susan Sniegowski, 51st Circuit Court, 304 E. Ludington Ave., Ludington, MI 49431.
  • Rep. Curt Vanderwall, 101st House District, S-1385 House Office Building, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909;
  • Sen. Darwin Booher, 35th Senate District, 520 Farnum Building, Lansing, MI 48909;