Man gets time served and home confinement for trafficking pot, hit man attempt

·3 min read

Jul. 14—A Josephine County man who reportedly agreed to pay an undercover federal agent $20,000 in 2019 to kill and associate and settle a $75,000 marijuana debt was sentenced to home confinement, the nearly three years he's already served in the Jackson County Jail and will have to give up assets in the six figures.

John Tobe Larson, 71, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Medford to time served in the Jackson County Jail — approximately 35 months — with one year of home confinement and five years post-prison supervision for possessing marijuana with intent to distribute for his role trafficking large quantities of marijuana from Southern Oregon to Missouri and other parts of the United States by plane as part of a scheme that culminated with a murder-for-hire sting, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. (Corrected)

Larson pleaded guilty April 20 to a lesser drug trafficking charge as part of a plea deal arranged by Larson's lawyer Per Olson of Portland and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marco Boccato. As terms of the plea deal, the charge of using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire was dropped.

Larson's sentence includes one year of home confinement and five years of post-prison supervision.

According to federal prosecutors, an Oregon State Police confidential informant told police that Larson wanted someone "taken care of" in the spring of 2019. The informant introduced Larson to an undercover Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent who posed as a hit man.

At a June 6, 2019, meeting, Larson reportedly told the undercover agent that he needed an individual who owed him $75,000 "to disappear" and "would prefer that the body is never f---ing found," according to a sentencing brief filed July 6 by Boccato.

Over the course of two more meetings in Grants Pass motel rooms occurring June 27 and Aug. 21, 2019, they reportedly agreed on a fee of $20,000 to carry out the scheme.

Prior to Larson's arrest Aug. 21, 2019, the undercover agent told Larson that the victim's body had been disposed of off shore, showed Larson video purporting to be the victim dumped into the ocean and prop teeth purporting to be from the victim.

Larson's defense lawyer, Olson, disagreed with the murder-for-hire details, claiming his client "wanted it to be a 'collection' matter rather than a 'disposal.'"

Olson claimed that Larson had been receiving testosterone therapy at the time that had lapsed. Drawing from a forensic psychiatrist, he said Larson's "heightened sense of anxiety brought on by fears of violence perpetrated by the alleged victim may have played a role in how he interacted with the undercover agent."

As part of the plea bargain, Larson will forfeit his 1956 Piper PA-23 fixed-wing aircraft, nearly $100,000 in cash and 4,900 euros.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.

Correction: Due to incorrect information supplied by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the version of this story printed July 14 contained the wrong sentencing information. Larson was sentenced to time served in the Jackson County Jail — approximately 35 months — along with one year of home confinement and five years post-prison supervision.