Heroin claims another New Milford victim
Updated 10:38 am, Monday, July 20, 2015
The scourge that is heroin has struck down another young New Milford resident.
Jordan, who lives on Pumpkin Hill Road in New Milford, is being held on $350,000 court set bond following his, July 10 arraignment at Superior Court in Bantam.
He was arrested July 9 on charges of sale of narcotic substance/ non-dependent, and conspiracy to commit the sale of narcotic substance.
DeFino was found dead on the morning of June 22 in his bedroom by his mother, Terri-Lynne DeFino.
Investigating detectives from the New Milford Police Department observed a small puncture wound in DeFino’s inner right bicep area, two pieces of torn wax paper folds on the floor below his body and a bottle cap containing a cotton swab and possible syringe cap, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
It was determined DeFino died from a heroin overdose, based on Detective Robert Guilbeault’s experience investigating several confirmed heroin/narcotic overdoses, and given the items found in DeFino’s bedroom and “foam-like secretions from his mouth,” the affidavit reads.
Wrappers subsequently found in the room had “a brown powder substance consistent with heroin” and the brand name “Horse Bite” stamped in black, according to the
Terri-Lynne DeFino said her son suffered from depression brought on by a serious injury he incurred when he was 15 that had left him with chronic pain.
DeFino had been “clean” from drug use for three years, she said. However, recently he had returned home when his depression worsened.
“Addiction is a symptom of being desperate to turn everything off,” his mother said Monday. “My son was a wonderful guy, but depression sucked him in.”
Text messages on Christopher DeFino’s and Jordan’s cellphones and the testimony of Jared Beatty, a mutual acquaintance of DeFino’s and Jordan’s, led to Jordan’s arrest.
Jordan is accused of selling the heroin to DeFino.
According to court documents, Beatty and Jordan visited DeFino at his parents’ house the evening of June 21. At that time, Jordan sold DeFino three bags of heroin; he had sold DeFino one bag of heroin earlier in the day.
“This kid who brought it (heroin) into my house was someone I thought I knew and loved,” Terri-Lynne DeFino said.
Jordan is not the first man to be accused of heroin sale in the death of a New Milford resident.
In April, a Hopewell Junction, N.Y., man, Dennis Sica, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl in U.S. District Court in White Plains, N.Y.
Prosecutors said Sica and others had sold the potent heroin brand named “Breaking Bad” to Laura Brown, 35, of New Milford, and two other people, that led to their deaths.
Brown was found dead in the bathroom of her New Milford apartment in February 2014 with three needles, measuring spoons and “Breaking Bad” packets around her, according to the DEA arrest warrant affidavit for Sica.
Brown’s brother told investigators that he and his sister had bought the heroin from Sica.
The chief medical examiner’s autopsy report concluded Brown had died from “acute heroin and fentanyl intoxication,” according to the arrest warrant.
The heroin problem was particularly acute in New Milford in 2013, when there were eight overdose deaths related to opioids, four of them involving heroin, according to data provided by the state.
Four more heroin related deaths occurred in 2014 in town, along with the arrest of four people accused of heroin sales. Police, however, have not linked these arrests to the 2013 or 2014 deaths.
One of the four arrested, Weston Chavis, 51, of New Milford, was sentenced in October to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of the sale of hallucinogen/narcotic as a drug-dependent seller.
True Lipscomb, 29, of Peekskill, N.Y., awaited disposition this week in Superior Court in Litchfield after pleading guilty to reduced charges of three counts of sale of hallucinogen/narcotic.
Lipscomb was revealed to be distributing heroin throughout the New Milford area and was accused of being the center of a heroin distribution network of which Chavis was part, according to court documents.
The opiate problem has been percolating for years across the country.
Between 2002 and 2013, there was a 286 percent increase in heroin-related deaths nationwide, according to the federal National Vital Statistics System.
The high-profile overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman last year accentuated the deadly heroin habit touching towns and cities across the country.
In Connecticut, heroin-related deaths rose from 174 to 325 from 2012 to 2014, according to state data. Fentanyl-related deaths grew from 14 to 75 in the same time span.
The opiate-related death numbers in a middle-class town such as New Milford could seem shocking.
Yet Dr. Peter Rostenberg, an addiction specialist based in New Fairfield, said, “Most opiate users are middle class.
“The last heroin epidemic was in the early 1970s and that was mostly minorities,” Rostenberg said. “Today, opiates, including heroin, is a white person’s illness.”
New Milford police have taken a “proactive stance” when it comes to the heroin issue facing the town, said Lt. Larry Ash, noting this is a national and global problem.
“Any time there is a heroin-related overdose, we send out a team of detectives, as we did in the DeFino case, who are working in concert with the state’s attorney’s office to have successfully executed arrest,” Ash said.
The New Milford Police Department also has a detective working with the Statewide Narcotics Task Force, which actively pursues heroin investigations.
Ash added the department goes beyond enforcement, having a sergeant represent the force on the New Milford Substance Abuse Action Council and taking part in opiate use prevention education.