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Canfield police dog helps land Cortland man behind bars

YOUNGSTOWN — A Cortland resident awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to federal charges as investigators say he received a more than two-pound shipment of a powerful opiate shipped to a Warren home.

A Canfield police dog sniffed out the dope, authorities said.

Michael Ellens Jr., 44, pleaded guilty in federal court on July 29, during a hearing before Judge Dan Aaron Polster on charges connected to attempted possession and distribution of fentanyl and cocaine.

Terms of the the plea agreement are under seal. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 7.

Ellens was arrested after a postal inspector identified a white USPS large priority package that was mailed on April 28, weighing a 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 would transmit a signal to law enforcement if the parcel was opened, was placed inside the package on May 3.

The package was delivered later that morning to the Randolph Street address, and then taken by a woman to a Briar Street 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 Jr. 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 a police report.

During an interview with the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office, Ellens Jr. claimed ownership of the 1000 grams of fentanyl removed from the parcel.

Ellens Jr. previously had been convicted for distribution of crack cocaine on Dec. 18, 2000, for which he served more than 12 months in prison. He is being held in the Mahoning County jail.

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