NY man charged faces manslaughter charge in overdose death of Greenwich man

February 21, 2019

GREENWICH — A Brooklyn, N.Y., man who allegedly sold a batch of heroin that killed a Greenwich man in 2017 was taken to court Thursday morning to face a charge of first-degree manslaughter.

Henderison Vargas, 20, of Havemeyer Street, appeared before Judge John Blawie in Superior Court in Stamford, while his family members and infant daughter sat in the courtroom.

Vargas was arrested in connection with the death of Michael Turzilli, 24, an aspiring comedian and musician, on Oct. 27, 2017.

Police were called that afternoon to a residence on Valleywood Road in Cos Cob, where Turzilli was found dead. Investigators had little to go on at the death scene, besides the victim’s cellphone and two wax folds containing heroin and stamped with the name “World Star.”

After that, Greenwich police detectives carried out an extensive investigation — delving into phone and computer records, networking with the New York City Police Department and conducting a skillful interview with the suspect — to make an arrest, according to the arrest-warrant application on file in Superior Court.

Police determined that the victim had been using a popular classified-advertising website, looking to buy heroin using various street names for the drug, according to the court papers. A seller using the name “French Montana” appeared to be interested in making a sale, according to the affidavit. Turzilli eventually went to Hope Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn to purchase heroin from the alleged dealer, according to court papers, on Oct. 27.

During the investigation, police were challenged by the use of aliases and a “burner” phone allegedly used by Vargas, court papers stated. But the technical obstacles were overcome, and detectives developed a suspect, the affidavit stated.

Greenwich police then connected with the NYPD. The city cops arranged a buy-and-bust operation in November 2017 that brought Vargas into custody — as well as seizing 160 wax folds of heroin stamped “World Star” and a handgun with its serial number scraped off, the affidavit stated. An NYPD undercover officer made the buy.

Greenwich police detectives interviewed Vargas in Brooklyn, and without telling him about the heroin death, succeeded in obtaining information from the suspect that the he had met Turzilli in Brooklyn for a drug sale, according to the court papers.

An arrest warrant was later obtained, and Vargas was picked up earlier this week. Bail was set at $250,000.