Cocaine Dealer Sentenced to 12½ Years in Prison
SEP 01 - LAS VEGAS – A Las Vegas man with a violent criminal history who sold nine ounces of cocaine to an undercover DEA Agent last year, has been sentenced to 12 ½ years in federal prison as a result of a joint DEA and FBI investigation.
Matthew Ridge, 37, was sentenced on Monday, August 30, 2010, by Senior U.S. District Judge Lloyd D. George to 151 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Ridge pleaded guilty on May 3, 2010, to one count of distribution of cocaine. Ridge was classified as a career offender because he has two prior felony violent crime convictions, including voluntary manslaughter and felony assault. Ridge was on parole with the State of California when he committed the federal offense.
During the afternoon of October 5, 2009, an undercover DEA agent met with Ridge inside a bar/restaurant in Las Vegas. Ridge provided the undercover agent a free sample of approximately two grams of cocaine. Ridge advised the undercover agent that he could provide a quarter kilogram of high quality cocaine to the agent for $7,000 and kilogram quantities of cocaine for $24,000 or $25,000. Later that evening, the undercover agent met Ridge in a fast food parking lot and purchased approximately nine ounces or 265 grams of cocaine from Ridge in exchange for $7,000.
On October 28, 2009, the undercover DEA agent met with Ridge again inside the bar/restaurant in order for the agent to purchase ½ kilogram of cocaine. Ridge advised that it would be 2½ hours before he could get the cocaine, and the undercover agent told Ridge he could not wait and they would have to talk later. When Ridge exited the bar, members of the FBI’s Swat Team, as well as DEA agents and DEA Task Force Officers approached Ridge as he was entering a vehicle. Ridge fled, and was apprehended approximately half a block away. Agents recovered approximately 2.5 grams of cocaine that Ridge had discarded while he was running away from them.
The case was investigated by the DEA and FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kishan Nair.