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Heroin defendant gets prison time

Cary Ashby • Nov 8, 2012 at 1:30 PM

A local heroin defendant was sentenced Tuesday to 17 months in prison -- the same punishment his co-defendant earlier received for the same Norwalk drug bust.

Darran L.W. Townsend, 26, of 117-B N. West St., pleaded guilty in September to one count of possession of heroin for a May 13 drug bust. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to dismiss two similar fifth-degree felonies.

Norwalk Police Detective Sgt. Seth Fry had received tips about "frequent, short-term traffic" at a North Pleasant Street residence where Townsend was staying as of mid-May. Fry has said he and Detective Sgt. Jim Fulton later received another tip that Townsend would be coming back from Columbus with a large amount of heroin and was going to a Norwalk motel.

When the bust happened, Townsend was out on bond awaiting sentencing on an Erie County drug case for possessing 98 balloons of heroin at an Avery motel Nov. 13. He was sentenced later through Erie County Common Pleas Court.

"Darran Townsend has been a person of interest for some time. ... This guy was a major supplier of heroin," Fry said in May.

Members of METRICH, a 10-county task force, were involved in the drug bust. Willard Police Detective Jeremy Draper, two Huron County sheriff's detectives and investigator Bob McDowell, of the Huron County Prosecutor's Office, assisted Fry, Fulton and Norwalk Police Detective Sgt. Dave Pigman.

Authorities used a search warrant May 13 and seized 44 balloons of heroin, some crack cocaine, three firearms, some marijuana, hundreds of used hypodermic needles, other drug-related paraphernalia and more than $300 in cash.

Also arrested was Scott A. Dale, 34, formerly of 3498 Neal Zick Road, Willard. He pleaded guilty Sept. 7 to one count of trafficking in heroin and was sentenced that same day to 17 months in prison. Dale was credited with already serving 216 days of local jail time.

Townsend must reimburse Norwalk police $120 to cover the cost of drug testing.

When interviewed, Townsend "admitted to a 30-balloons-a-day drug habit," Fry said. "He was selling to support his habit."

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