Bradley Commerford, 20, of Derby, pled guilty on May 6 in a New Haven court to federal charges of distributing drugs to an individual under age 21. Commerford was arrested on February 18 after two Shelton men and a Derby man overdosed from heroin sold to them by Commerford.
The two Shelton men survived the heroin overdose, both occurring on February 16; however, the next day a Derby man, and friend of Commerford, died from an overdose of heroin.
The three overdoses prompted a federal investigation, along with an investigation by local police from Shelton, Derby and Monroe.
The Shelton men and Derby man were described in an affidavit in February by Dana Mofenson, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as victim 1, victim 2, and victim 3. Mofenson described victim 1 as an 18 year-old Shelton man, victim 2 as a 22 year-old Shelton man, and victim 3 as a 23 year-old Derby man.
Mofenson, assigned to the DEA New Haven District Office (NHDO) Tactical Diversion Squad (TDS), was called in to investigate the three overdoses that occurred from Feb. 16 to Feb.17.
Local law enforcement and the federal agent were able to connect Commerford to the crimes by searching his telephone and victim 3’s telephone. They also interviewed other sources, including Victim 3’s mother, who said her son admitted using heroin and obtaining the drug from a man named Brad.
Commerford agreed to a plea agreement in a New Haven Court to the charges that he sold heroin to someone under age 21.
Commerford agreed to waive his right to be indicted and pled guilty to one count of an informant charging him with distribution of heroin, a Scheduled 1 controlled substance.
Also, in the plea agreement, Commerford agreed that he knowingly provided heroin to an individual between January 2016 in or about Feb 2016; he must agree that he knew it was heroin; that he, Commerford, was at least 18 years-old at the time of the crime, and that the individual that he gave heroin to was under the age of 21 years old.
He is scheduled for sentencing on July 28 before Hartford Judge Albert W. Thomson. Although Commerford’s crime can carry a maximum of 40 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum term of one year, a fine with a maximum of $2,000,000, other fines, and supervision after release, ranging from six years to life, he may only serve between five to six years.
Under the sentencing guideline in Commerford’s plea agreement, his base offense is a level 26, but because he plead guilty and takes responsibility for his crime, his offense is reduced to a level 23. It also says assuming a Criminal History Category lll, his sentencing would result in 57 to 71 months with a fine ranging from $20,000 to $2 million.
However, the agreement also says that either party in the case can argue for a higher or lower sentence, above or below the 57 to 71 months.
Despite Commerford’s plea agreement in federal court, he still has to face charges in a local court. Commerford is scheduled to appear in Derby Superior Court on May 20 for additional charges.
He will appear for a pre trial for four criminal counts. The crimes listed under the four cases include violation of his probation for threatening in the second degree on May, 16, 2014. He is facing charges of violation of his probation for possession with intent to sell and dispense on Aug, 16, 2014. The third count is charges of violation of his probation for sale of a controlled substance on October 23, 2015.
The fourth count he will be having a pretrial for stems from his arrest on January 15, 2016. He is facing charges for possession of half an ounce of marijuana, interfering with an officer and/or resisting arrest, failure to insure a private motor vehicle, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, and operating without a license.