Crime & Courts

Crystal Lake man faces new drug charges months after release from prison for selling heroin

Paul Benzinger, 29
Paul Benzinger, 29

WOODSTOCK – A Crystal Lake man faces new drug charges only months after he was released from prison for selling heroin.

Paul S. Benzinger, 29, of the 6100 block of Anvil Road, Crystal Lake, was arrested Monday and charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, a Class 1 felony, and two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, Class 4 felonies.

He remained in McHenry County Jail as of Wednesday afternoon in lieu of posting 10 percent of his $80,000 bond.

Benzinger is unemployed and lives with his parents, according to court documents.

Benzinger was previously sentenced in July 2016 to eight years in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.

Judge Sharon Prather signed an order recommending he be admitted to the impact incarceration boot camp program.

He was arrested in 2015 after several law enforcement agencies searched his and Heather Vasil’s home and seized more than $3,200 worth of heroin.

The couple faced felony drug charges. Vasil pleaded guilty in May 2016 and she was sentenced to six years in prison with a recommendation for the impact incarceration boot camp program.

Benzinger was released from prison Jan. 10 and has been on parole. The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office learned shortly thereafter from a confidential source that he was selling heroin again by making frequent trips to Chicago to buy large quantities of the drug that he would then sell in McHenry County, according to court documents.

Sheriff’s deputies pulled Benzinger over in McHenry County for expired registration plates on his way to Chicago to buy heroin. Authorities said Benzinger admitted to having heroin in his possession and turned over 36 individually wrapped bags of heroin.

The substance weighed about 3.6 grams – an amount not likely for personal use, court documents said.

Based on this information, Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Ann Scholl filed a motion to increase Benzinger’s bond to $250,000. Scholl argued that if Benzinger is able to post bond there is a “substantial likelihood” that he will continue to violate his parole and break laws.

“The only way to protect the community is to substantially increase his bail,” Scholl said in her motion.

If Benzinger is convicted, he is eligible for extended-term sentencing and could face four to 30 years in prison.

This offense also is not probationable given the weight of the drugs, Scholl said.

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