Orion heroin trafficker found, arrested in Florida
October 07, 2009 - Chad Benson is back from West Palm Beach, FL, but he wasn't there on vacation. Benson was avoiding sentencing for possession of heroin with intent to deliver, and a trial for home invasion.
The Lake Orion resident was wanted by Lake Orion Police Department for the narcotics offense and by Lapeer County for home invasion.
After being apprehended by police in Jupiter, FL for alleged possession of drug paraphernalia, Benson was returned to Oakland County.
"This was a good case," said Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh. "Police in both counties did their homework."
The fugitive was arraigned and placed on $70,000 bond from Oakland County and $20,000 from Lapeer County.
Narsh says this was a case that originally began in 2008 when officers discovered "large amounts of paraphernalia for injecting heroin and stolen property," in Benson's residence after a warranted search. Stolen property connected Benson with the crime in Lapeer County.
Benson eventually pleaded guilty to heroin possession and trafficking, but failed to appear for sentencing April 2009. In the process, he forfeited $10,000 put up by his family for bond.
Benson also failed to appear for a preliminary exam for his Lapeer County offense, according to police records.
"From April until September, we were completely unaware of his wear-abouts," said the police chief, "but he did not fall off our radar screen."
Working off a tip, law enforcement in Tennessee and Lake Orion worked in cooperation as late as Sept. 18 to find Benson there.
Narsh says because of the seriousness of the crime, he was also working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in order to track Benson across the country.
Suddenly, Benson showed up on the grid in Florida. He had been arrested in Jupiter, FL for possession of drug paraphernalia but gave officers a fake name – Brandon Grzesiak – according to reports.
The Grzesiak alias worked for a time as Benson matched this person's physical description, but when police ran Benson's fingerprints through a national database, they discovered the fugitive's true identity, said Narsh. Benson waived his extradition rights and said he would voluntarily return to Michigan.
"Thought it may seem like a lot of work, you can't just commit major crimes and walk away," said Narsh. "Justice demands that we do our jobs and we return those to face penalties."
In a unique collaboration, Oakland and Lapeer County Prosecutor Offices each paid some of the cost to return Benson. Chief Narsh and Leuitenent Herald Rossman traveled to Florida and delivered Benson to Oakland County Jail without incident, Narsh said.
"This should send a message, loud and clear, to anyone who would consider selling drugs as a form of income in Lake Orion," Narsh added. "You will face serious and life-altering consequences for that decision."
Benson awaits sentencing in jail, unable to post bond.
Reporter, Lake Orion Review