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Press Release

Derby Man Connected to Overdose Death Sentenced to 71 Months in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, announced that BRADLEY COMMERFORD, 20, of Derby, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 71 months of imprisonment, followed by six years of supervised release for distributing heroin.  Judge Thompson also ordered COMMERFORD to perform 150 hours of community service while on supervised release.

This matter stems from an ongoing statewide initiative targeting narcotics dealers who distribute heroin, fentanyl or opioids that cause death or serious injury to users.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the DEA’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad, Derby Police Department and Shelton Police Department investigated two non-fatal heroin overdoses that occurred in Shelton on February 16, 2016, and one fatal overdose that occurred in Derby on February 17, 2016.  The Derby overdose resulted in the death of a 23-year-old male.  The Shelton overdoses involved one individual who was 18 and another who was 22.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner subsequently issued a report listing the Derby victim’s cause of death as “acute fentanyl intoxication.”

The investigation, which included victim and witness interviews, as well as analysis of numerous text messages of the decedent’s phone, identified COMMERFORD as the heroin source of supply in all three overdose cases.  The investigation also revealed that COMMERFORD sold heroin to a 16-year-old individual who did not overdose.

“While this defendant has faced difficulties and struggled with addiction himself, his reckless behavior cannot be excused,” said U.S. Attorney Daly.  “He regularly distributed heroin to teenagers and sold heroin after being convicted in state court of several serious felony offenses.  More disturbing, even after the overdose death in this case, he continued to sell heroin and was arrested while on his way to purchase a distribution quantity of heroin from his source in Waterbury.  This sentence will help to protect the public, give this defendant substantial time to consider and address his own addiction and, hopefully provide some small measure of solace to the victim’s family.  We will continue to prioritize opioid overdose cases and target heroin and fentanyl dealers to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and prosecute those responsible for it.  I thank the DEA and task force partners for their tireless commitment to this effort.”

“Those suffering from the disease of heroin addiction need access to treatment and recovery,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ferguson.  “But, those responsible for distributing lethal drugs like heroin and fentanyl to the citizens of Connecticut need to be held accountable for their actions.  In response to the ongoing opioid epidemic DEA and its local, state and federal partners are committed to bringing to justice those that distribute this poison.”

COMMERFORD has been detained since his arrest on February 18, 2016.  On May 6, 2016, he pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of heroin to an individual who is under 21 years of age.

The DEA’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad includes participants from the New Haven, Hamden, Greenwich, Shelton, Bristol, Vernon, Wilton, Milford, Monroe, Fairfield and Middlebury Police Departments, and the Connecticut State Police.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert M. Spector.

Updated August 12, 2016

Drug Trafficking