Tuesday, October 15, 2019 Elyria 41°

Cops and Courts

Feds charge Elyria man with drug trafficking


ELYRIA — Three men have been charged with drug trafficking by federal authorities in a case that stretches from Elyria to central Pennsylvania.

David Freed, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, recently announced federal drug trafficking charges against Damonico Henderson, 54, of Elyria, Anthony Bressi, 47, of Danville, Pennsylvania, and Terry Harris, 45, of Philadelphia.

All three are charged with conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with the intent to distribute fentanyl, carfentanil and other fentanyl analogue substances between 2015 and June of this year, according to Freed’s office.

Lorain County Auditor’s Office records list Henderson as one of the titled owners of a house at 353 Pemberton Drive in the Maslyk Estates neighborhood on Elyria’s southeast side. That house was raided June 15 by FBI agents and searched. Multiple vehicles were towed away from the scene.

A federal grand jury issued the indictments following an investigation by the FBI and the Pennsylvania State Police. The case will be tried in the U.S. District Court in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where Henderson is scheduled to be arraigned at 10:30 a.m. Friday, according to federal court records.

Henderson requested a court-appointed attorney, according to court records. He also apparently has prior convictions for drug offenses, according to his indictment.

The case against Henderson was filed June 14 and he was arrested a few days later. The filings against him and his co-defendants were sealed by a federal judge at the request of federal prosecutors “to preserve the integrity of an ongoing case,” according to court documents.

The drugs in question allegedly were distributed in Williamsport and Danville, Pennsylvania, as well as East Buffalo Township, near Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The Sunbury Daily Item, a newspaper in central Pennsylvania, also reported June 27 that Henderson allegedly tried to take possession of 100 grams of carfentanil in Williamsport on June 11. Harris also allegedly tried to do the same thing in Danville on June 19, the newspaper reported.

PennLive.com, a central Pennsylvania news website, reported that Henderson, Bressi and Harris allegedly distributed 400 grams of a mixture of fentanyl, 100 grams of 3-methylfentanyl and 100 grams of carfentanil. All three are synthetic opioids many times stronger than morphine and heroin and can result in overdoses and death if abused.

PennLive.com also reported that federal authorities are seeking forfeiture of $486,711 worth of property from Henderson, items that were found during a search in Ohio, including a 2014 Mercedes, 1994 Ford Mustang convertible, four Rolex watches, two 14-carat diamond rings and “numerous other pieces of expensive jewelry.”

Also marked for forfeiture if Bressi is convicted is a Mercedes, a Porsche, a Ferrari and his wine collection, PennLive.com reported.

Freed’s office said the case was put together as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, which brings law enforcement and communities together to reduce violent crime. The project was restarted in 2017 by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Elyria Police Department and Ohio Highway Patrol assisted federal agents with traffic control during the Pemberton Drive raid. Lorain County Auditor’s records indicate the house was built in 2002 and sold to Henderson and a woman for $200,000 in November 2016.

Pennsylvania law enforcement also is part of a project called the Heroin Initiative, which is a coordinated effort by authorities to locate, arrest and prosecute defendants who allegedly commit heroin-related offenses, according to Freed’s office.

Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.

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