Last Friday, 38-year-old Eric Howell and 28-year-old Jason Kehler, both of Millsboro, were arrested in connection with an alleged heroin sale made in Lewes.
Police said that, through an investigation by the Sussex County Governor’s Task Force (GTF), it was suspected that Howell, who was on home confinement under terms of probation or parole, was selling large amounts of heroin.
“I don’t know the specifics of it, because it’s overseen by Probation and Parole,” said Cpl. John Day, public information officer for the Delaware State Police, of Howell’s confinement. “If you’re on home confinement, he was sentenced to home confinement. It is considered a level of incarceration.”
Having suspected Howell was selling illegal drugs, on the afternoon on Oct. 4, while Howell was allowed to leave his home to go to work, the GTF kept him under surveillance.
“They set up surveillance on him, following him while he was out,” Day said. “He was allowed to leave the house for the purpose of working a legitimate job.”
Howell was observed by law-enforcement officers that day while in a car being driven by Kehler. The two drove to a drugstore in Lewes, where they met a man who allegedly purchased heroin from Howell.
“The man arrived on a bicycle. They picked him up and brought him to a nearby parking lot and then returned him to the parking lot by the drugstore, where they let him out,” said Day.
After troopers stopped the man, they determined he had allegedly purchased 26 bags (.39 grams) of suspected heroin.
“He was arrested and charged with misdemeanor drug charges,” Day said of the alleged buyer.
Howell and Kehler were then stopped by other members of the GTF.
Howell was taken into custody and found to have 244 bags (3.66 grams) of suspected heroin in his possession, as well as more than $4,000 in cash. Six additional bags (.09 grams) of suspected heroin, allegedly belonging to Kehler, were located in the vehicle.
Day said he could not comment as to any investigation into where Howell had obtained the drugs.
“Generally, if a drug defendant is cooperative, another investigation could go on to determine where they received the drugs. But oftentimes they are uncooperative.”
Howell’s money was seized, and he was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance in a Tier 3 Quantity, three counts of Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance in a Tier 2 Quantity, Conspiracy Second Degree and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was committed to Sussex Correctional Institute for lack of $38,000 cash bail.
Kehler was charged with two counts of Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance in a Tier 2 Quantity, Conspiracy Second Degree, Possession of a Controlled Substance and two counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was released on $34,500 unsecured bail.
Both men were charged with second-degree Conspiracy, Day said, because they allegedly committed the crime together.