Crystal Lake man accused of dealing heroin while on parole for 2018 drug conviction

A Crystal Lake man on parole for possessing heroin in 2017 faces new charges alleging he sold heroin to another man and had more drugs and prescription pills inside his home.

Paul S. Benzinger, 32, is charged with possession with intent to deliver heroin, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting a police officer. The most serious charge, possession with intent to deliver heroin, typically is punishable by four to 15 years in prison.

Attorney Michael McNerney, the special public defender appointed to represent Benzinger, could not be reached for comment.

Benzinger remained at the McHenry County Jail on Wednesday on a $401,000 bond associated with multiple cases. Prosecutors with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office have asked that Benzinger prove that his funds are legitimate before potentially posting bond.

According to a motion that prosecutors filed in court June 22, McHenry County sheriff’s deputies arrested Benzinger July 21 after watching him deal drugs to another man.

McHenry County sheriff’s deputies were conducting surveillance that day at Benzinger’s home in Crystal Lake, according to the prosecutors’ motion. After watching Benzinger hand drugs to another man, police conducted a traffic stop on the other person’s vehicle, prosecutors said.

During the stop, officers found heroin inside the man’s vehicle and he admitted to police that he bought the drugs from Benzinger, prosecutors said.

Police then used a warrant to search Benzinger’s home in the 6100 block of Anvil Road, where they located baggies of heroin along with other narcotics and drug paraphernalia, prosecutors said.

The search yielded 10.2 grams of heroin and several prescription pills, including clonazepam, methadone, oxycodone and buprenorphine, according to a police affidavit. The drugs are estimated to be worth $2,040 at street value, according to the affidavit.

Officers also found several hundred dollars in cash, court records show.

Benzinger’s criminal history in McHenry County includes a 2016 arrest after police seized more than $3,200 worth of heroin from the home where Benzinger lived with 27-year-old Heather L. Vasil. Both Benzinger and Vasil accepted plea deals later that year and were recommended for boot camp through the Illinois Department of Corrections. Upon completion of the labor-intensive program, participants’ sentences are reduced.

Illinois State Police officers arrested Vasil earlier this month on drug-induced homicide charges in connection with an Algonquin man's overdose death. Her case is ongoing.

At the time of his most recent arrest, Benzinger was on parole for a 2018 McHenry County conviction of possession with intent to deliver heroin. He was sentenced to 4½ years in prison and was released on parole a year ago.

Algonquin police arrested Benzinger on June 26 on a separate misdemeanor criminal damage to property charge after they say he kicked in another person’s door, court records show.

Benzinger is due back in court Aug. 21.