New Milford police seize 100 baggies of heroin, make arrests

NEW MILFORD — A routine traffic stop last week led to the arrest of three men and the seizure of 100 packets of heroin.

Police stopped Jordan Leighton, 25, of Easton, at 1:27 a.m. on Oct. 19 for speeding on Bridgewater Road, (Route 67), police said. The packets and drug paraphernalia were discovered because 8-year-old police dog Kira, a German shepherd on the force since 2011, sniffed it out, according to police.

Leighton and two New York men also in the car, 26-year-old Kenneth Farber and 45-year-old Brian Lashomb, were charged with drug possession. Leighton was charged with speeding, police said.

The size of the heroin seizure is nothing new to police, spokesman Police Lt. Larry Ash said.

“We’ve made arrests at this level in the past,” Ash said. “This is a significant amount of heroin, but not unusual.”

It’s hard to quantify how much heroin police have seen in recent years, Ash said. But the department is focused on battling the opioid epidemic.

“Officers are very proactive about trying to catch people bringing heroin into our town,” Ash said.

New Milford has seen 31 drug-related deaths since 2012, according to the state Chief Medical Examiner’s office. Most of those deaths list opioids as the immediate cause of death.

Nearby small towns have seen fewer drug-releated deaths: Brookfield had five, New Fairfield four. But larger cities had more deaths, data shows. Danbury had 99 drug-related deaths and Waterbury had 253. Drugs in the area often come from those cities, police have said.

New Milford has reported two deaths so far this year.

Opioids and opioid deaths came to the forefront a few years ago with a spate of overdose deaths at the end of 2013. The town had 10 drug-related deaths that year.

Since then, drug deaths have not been as high. Five deaths were reported last year and seven in 2015.

At a forum last year, town officials and police discussed what they were doing to end drug deaths.

All of the town’s first responders carry naloxone, an antidote for opioid overdoses, said Police Chief Shawn Boyne.

The department uses uses unmarked vehicles for traffic stops to help cut down on trafficking.; 203-731-3411; @bglytton