Heading Logo


Overdose death leads to felony trafficking charge

By ERIC MAROTTA Editor Published: January 25, 2017 12:00 AM
  • 1 of 1 Photos | View More Photos

NORTHFIELD CENTER -- A 30-year-old alleged drug dealer is facing a third-degree felony trafficking in drugs charge after police reports say he attempted to sell undercover police LSD at the home of a Northfield Center man who died Jan. 14.

Brandon Higham was arrested around around 5:40 p.m. Jan. 14 by members of the Summit County Drug Task Force at the Morningside Drive home of James Lenahan, who had been found dead of an apparent drug overdose that morning.

While Stow Municipal Court Records state Higham is a resident of Cleveland, a Summit County Sheriff's Office report on his arrest states Higham is a resident of Garfield Heights.

Summit County Sheriff's Inspector Bill Holland said Mr. Lenahan had been found dead by his father in the home's living room around 9 a.m. Jan. 14.

Holland said deputies obtained permission from the father to search Mr. Lenahan's cell phone for evidence after responding to the call that morning.

[Article continues below]

Holland said texts from the phone showed that Higham and Mr. Lenhan had made arrangements to meet at the home later on Jan. 14.

"There was already a pending meeting set up, so in an undercover capacity they just continued with that and ended up meeting Higham," Holland said.

Summit County Medical Examiner's spokesman Gary Guenther said that while toxicology results will take time, Mr. Lenahan's death is considered a suspected opiate overdose because drug paraphernalia was found with his body.

Guenther said the medical examiner's office investigation notes show Lenahan had last been seen prior to his death around 1 or 2 a.m. Jan. 14. A sheriff's office report on the incident states police found drug paraphernalia and about 1 gram of heroin with Mr. Lenahan's body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the Sheriff's report, Higham attempted to sell 7 grams of LSD to undercover police.

[Article continues below]

Holland said Higham was found with 7 grams of hash oil, and amounts of marijuana, LSD and a number of pills. Holland said he did not have information available on the amount of the other drugs or types of pills Higham was carrying.

"He admitted to being a marijuana and hash dealer," Holland said.

Holland said deputies at this time cannot say Higham is responsible for selling the drugs that caused Mr. Lenahan's death.

He said there could be additional charges after Higham appears before the Summit County Grand Jury for potential indictment on the felony trafficking charge.

At Higham's Jan. 17 video arraignment in Stow Municipal Court, Higham's release was authorized via a $10,000 personal bond, according to court records. A status hearing in the case was scheduled for Jan. 24 before Judge Lisa Coates.

Northfield Center Trustee Paul Buescher said sheriff's deputies had invited him to observe Higham's arrest.

First, members of the team and Buescher met for a briefing and he was assigned to one of the undercover cars watching the approach to the area.

"We actually saw the car go down the road. They radioed ahead and said he was coming. All of a sudden we got the call they've got him blocked in the drive. I saw him being taken away in handcuffs," Buescher said. "The briefing was at 5 p.m. and they took him down at 5:40 p.m."

Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433

Email: emarotta@recordpub.com


Rate this article

Do you want to leave a comment?   Please Log In or Register to comment.