Feds charge man in connection with overdoses

A Derby man faces federal charges for allegedly selling heroin that led to at least one death.

According to the criminal complaint charging Bradley Commerford, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad is investigating two heroin overdoses that occurred in Shelton on Feb. 16 and one that occurred in Derby on Feb. 17 which resulted in the death of a 23-year-old man.

A thorough review of phone records, text messages, and witnesses has led to Commerford being charged with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin.

The investigation, which includes victim and witness interviews, as well as analysis of numerous text messages of the victim from Derby’s phone, identified Commerford as the heroin source for all three overdose cases.

The Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner has not yet issued a toxicology report on the deceased so it has not been proven the

Commerford has been detained in state custody since Feb. 18.

The charge of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of heroin carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

These investigations are being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad, in partner with the Derby, Shelton, Monroe, Middlebury and Woodbridge Police Departments.  The Tactical Diversion Squad includes participants from the New Haven, Hamden, Greenwich, Shelton, Bristol, Vernon and Wilton Police Departments.  These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert M. Spector.

The judge scheduled a probable cause hearing in the case for March 10 and ordered Commerford to be detained. His lawyer will have the opportunity to argue for his release at a later date.

“We are combatting a tragic opioid epidemic that is plaguing not only Connecticut but much of the country,” said Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is working closely with DEA and our state and local partners to actively investigate multiple overdose deaths.  Our primary goal is to identify the source and makeup of the drugs involved.  This is a very serious public health issue.  We will continue to prioritize the prosecution of individuals who traffic narcotics that pose significant public safety concerns.”

“Anytime there is a loss of life involving a drug overdose it is a tragic event; but even more so, when the victims are young adults,” said Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England. “Those suffering from the disease of heroin addiction need access to treatment and recovery. But, those responsible for distributing these lethal drugs to the citizens of Connecticut need to be held responsible for their actions.  DEA and its federal, state, and local partners are committed to bringing to justice those that distribute this poison.”