September 13 – SALEM, Mass. – A criminal trial date for a local driving school owner charged with narcotics trafficking and distribution has not been set nearly two years after his arrest.
Michael Larocque, 58, of Lawrence, is expected back in Superior Court next month for motion hearings in the case. A Monday hearing in Salem Superior Court has been adjourned to Oct. 21, according to court records.
Following his September 2020 arrest, Larocque was indicted by an Essex County grand jury on two counts of trafficking methamphetamines over 200 grams, one count of unlawful possession of a Class D substance, a one count of trafficking 36 to 100 grams of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of a Class A substance.
Larocque was released on $50,000 bond. He was ordered to stay drug-free and surrender his passport.
Larocque owned North Andover Auto School and MV Auto School in Haverhill at the time of his arrest.
Investigators said they seized drugs after executing search warrants at Larocque’s home at 69 Colonial Road in Lawrence and at the North Andover Auto School at 203 Turnpike St., Unit 404, in North Andover, investigators said.
At the time of his arrest, detectives said they made “controlled purchases” of methamphetamines from Larocque’s home and school.
After Larocque’s arrest, the state motor vehicle registry revoked his driving school license, as well as his license to teach driver training.
In addition to his criminal record, Larocque faces a civil lawsuit filed by Attorney General Maura Healey. The lawsuit alleges he failed to repay $1 million in refunds to 1,500 students.
A preliminary injunction in the civil suit has been issued, resulting in the freezing of Larocque’s assets.
Students from all over the Merrimack Valley attended Larocque driving schools.
The Healey lawsuit is seeking refunds and penalties for 1,500 students after Larocque was arrested and failed to provide services to clients, investigators say.
Students paid Larocque schools between $550 and $750 for driving lessons, Healey said.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.