A man who kept selling fentanyl at the Mildred Hailey Apartments in Jamaica Plain even after getting shot in the chest was sentenced today to seven years in federal prison on four counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, the US Attorney's office reports.
Anthony Smallwood, 30, was living with his girlfriend and his children in a Heath Street apartment in the Mildred Hailey complex when he was shot in the chest on Sept. 3, 2019, even as the FBI was investigating him for fentanyl dealing. The four counts he pleaded guilty to in January, 2020 were for four sales of the narcotic to an informant.
Federal prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 8 1/3 years, arguing he had a long record that showed detention was not deterring him from going back to crime and that he had violently attacked his girlfriend.
His attorney, however, argued for just 5 years - the minimum allowed - because he had not been arrested for four years before his fentanyl arrest, had a loving and supportive family, including his girlfriend, and that a lot of self-reflection in the 18 months he spent locked up awaiting sentencing, in the middle of a pandemic, had convinced him of the error of his ways.
The length of sentence Mr. Smallwood must now serve is significantly longer than anything he has experience before. That appears to have gotten his attention, and caused sincere reflection. He has written frankly about his shame at “selling poison to my community after knowing what it does to people.”
Also, the attorney continued, Smallwood's confinement during a pandemic was harsher punishment than he would have otherwise gotten, because he was denied visits from his family as part of the prison system's efforts to contain the virus, and that should be a mitigating factor.