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Drug charges net 97 months

Cortland man sentenced in federal court

A Cortland man on Tuesday was sentenced to 97 months in a federal prison, convicted of charges connected to a more than two-pound postal shipment of fentanyl made to a Warren home.

Michael Ellens Jr., 44, of Woodland Trails, pleaded guilty July 29, 2021, before U.S. Judge Dan Aaron Polster of Northern Ohio District Court on charges of attempted possession and distribution of fentanyl and cocaine.

At the sentencing hearing, Ellens, who had been in custody since May 4, 2021, also was given credit for time served and assessed a $200 court cost.

Ellens was arrested after a postal inspector identified a white USPS large priority package that was mailed April 28, 2021, weighing approximately 6 pounds, 11 ounces. The package was addressed to an unidentified Warren resident with a Randolph Street residence. The return address was in Fresno, Calif.

The package was intercepted and delivered to the Drug Enforcement Agency Youngstown office because it was suspected to contain illegal drugs. Police dog Nix, handled by a Canfield police officer, alerted officers that he detected the odor of an illegal drug coming from the package.

After obtaining a search warrant, officials seized approximately 1,000 grams of field-tested positive pressed fentanyl concealed inside a gray plastic electrical box wrapped in bubble wrap and several layers of vacuum sealed bags.

A GPS device, as well as a parcel beacon, which transmitted a signal to law enforcement if the parcel was opened, was placed inside the package May 3.

The package was delivered later that morning to the Randolph Street address, and then taken by a woman to a Brier Street SW address. A man, later identified as Michael Ellens Jr., was observed taking delivery of the package.

A signal from the package indicated it was opened. Ellens was observed taking the package from the house and placing it inside of a black Cadillac XTS. He was arrested and taken into custody, according to an affidavit.

Ellens, in a later interview with Trumbull County sheriff detectives, claimed ownership of the 1,000 grams of fentanyl removed from the parcel.

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