Fort Lauderdale man forced women living in his garage to have sex, use drugs

Lenden Pendergrass beat women who refused to do his bidding, complaint says

Lenden Pendergrass was arrested during a federal drug raid at his Fort Lauderdale home.
Lenden Pendergrass was arrested during a federal drug raid at his Fort Lauderdale home.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Fort Lauderdale man was pedaling sex and drugs from his home, forcing women who were living in his garage to have sex acts with his customers at his bidding, giving them drugs as their reward and beating them if they didn't do what he said, according to the DEA.

Lenden Pendergrass was arrested Friday on federal drug charges.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Pendergrass had been "selling large quantities of fentanyl and crack cocaine and sex trafficking females" at his Northwest 16th Street home since at least last summer.

A confidential source told Fort Lauderdale police in July that she lived at the home until recently and was "required" to sell fentanyl and crack cocaine, as well as perform sex acts on customers, for Pendergrass. She also told police she was forced to have sex with Pendergrass "whenever he wanted her to" and "beat her regularly when she did not do what he told her to do," according to the complaint.

The source, who would eventually die of a fentanyl overdose at her Pompano Beach home in October, told detectives that Pendergrass was also acting as a pimp for women who lived in his garage. 

She said if the women didn't return home with the money, they would be beaten by Pendergrass in front of the other women. She also said all the women living at the home were required to have sex with Pendergrass "and that he gave the females both crack cocaine and fentanyl as payment" for the prostitution and drug sales.

The source made four drug purchases from Pendergrass between July 26 and Aug. 17 that were under police surveillance, according to the complaint.

Heather Loiola was among the people at the home when Pendergrass sold $100 worth of purported heroin during a recorded sale on Aug. 1, DEA task force Officer John Loges wrote in the complaint.

Heather Loiola is accused of selling drugs for Lenden Pendergrass.
Heather Loiola is accused of selling drugs for Lenden Pendergrass.

A second and third confidential source were used to make several other drug buys between August and February, Loges wrote.

The third source told police that Loiola sells crack cocaine and fentanyl for Pendergrass. She was recorded selling $120 and $150 worth of heroin to the source during a pair of drug transactions in February, the complaint said.

Federal agents executed a search warrant at the home Friday, arresting Pendergrass and Loiola and seizing about 4 ounces of fentanyl.

Pendergrass confessed to selling crack and heroin, but he denied selling fentanyl, Loges wrote. He told authorities that he bought the heroin from his supplier the night before and that his sister had sold 3 grams of it to a regular customer on the day of the raid, the complaint said.

"Pendergrass explained that the 'heroin' he purchased last night was going to be sold by him and his associates within the next week," Loges wrote. He also admitted to selling heroin to the women living in his garage, the complaint said.

Authorities found a .9 mm handgun at the home, but Pendergrass said it belonged to his son, Loges wrote.