Bubble wrap and several layers of vacuum-sealed bags couldn’t fool Canfield Police K9 “Nix” who helped federal authorities uncover more than two pounds of the powerful opiate fentanyl being mailed to a home in Warren.

The dog, who along with handler Aaron Young are working for the Drug Enforcement Agency, indicated there may be something suspicious when he sniffed a package being sent last week from Fresno, California to a home in Warren.

According to a U.S. Postal Inspector, after obtaining a federal search warrant, investigators found 1000 grams, (1 kilo) of pressed fentanyl concealed in an electrical box that had been covered in bubble wrap and several vacuum bags.

The DEA says fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine and many people who buy it as a street drug believe that they are purchasing heroin, which often results in overdose deaths.

Using GPS and a surveillance team, agents say they watched as the package was delivered to a woman at a Randolph Street NW home in Warren on Monday.

An affidavit filed in U.S. District Court says the woman took the package to a man at a home on Briar Street SE in Warren. 

That man, identified as 43-year-old Michal Ellens Jr. of Cortland, was arrested as he came out of the home with the package.

According to the affidavit, Ellens told authorities that the package belonged to him and he comes to the home on Briar Street to meet women.

A federal complaint was filed charging Ellens with attempting to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

During a court appearance, Ellens was ordered to remain in the custody of U.S. Marshals until a detention hearing scheduled for next Wednesday.  As of Wednesday, Ellens remained in the Mahoning County jail.


Michael Ellens Jr.