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Larson sentenced for dealing heroin
MONROE - A former high school athlete who fell into a years-long addiction to heroin was sentenced Thursday to five years of supervision in the state prison system.

Bradley A. Larson, 23, is sentenced to two years in prison and three years of parole on convictions of dealing heroin in Monroe. He was convicted recently of similar charges in Dane County and received a similar sentence there. That sentence will run concurrent to the one here in Green County.

Green County Judge James Beer extended Larson's overall supervision by one year, from four to five years. Larson needs more supervision to help him stay clean, Beer said.

Beer was also concerned that Larson relapsed and tested positive for heroin last July while on probation and living in a group home in Madison. Larson has been incarcerated since then.

"We have used probation before on you, and it didn't take hold," Beer said.

Larson sold a third of a gram of foil-wrapped heroin for $100 last January in the men's restroom of a business located in the 700 block of 8th Avenue, according to court records. The sale was orchestrated by drug agents, who paid a confidential source $60 for making the purchase. Drug agents also reported Larson for selling the same amount of heroin five days earlier for $50 in the parking lot of an apartment building in the 800 block of 6th Street.

Larson was "caught red-handed," said his defense attorney, James Edward Hammis. Still, he emphasized that Larson was cooperative with authorities after his arrest and later agreed to make an undercover buy from a "main dealer."

Larson was a stand-out wrestler at Stoughton High School, graduating in 2008, but his downward spiral into addiction started early, according to a pre-sentence investigation read in court. He smoked marijuana daily starting when he was 15 and a year later added cocaine to the mix. At 19, he started using Oxycontin, a synthetic opiate painkiller that if abused can often lead to heroin addiction.

He started using heroin at 20 and after a few months was doping daily. He continued until jailed last year.

He sold heroin to support his habit and got his girlfriend hooked on it, said District Attorney Gary Luhman.

"It really consumed his life," Luhman said. "Like most people with heroin addictions who come before this court, he's lucky to be sitting here in court instead of six feet under in a cemetery."

Larson told the judge he takes full responsibility for his actions.

"I went down a lot of the wrong paths," he said. "Being a drug addict is hard every day of my life."