Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Acting Special Agent in Charge Keith Kruskall , Special Agent in Charge

January 24, 2018

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-3900

Woman On Parole Indicted On Heroin Charge In Case Involving Overdose Death

BUFFALO, N.Y. - James J. Hunt, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement (DEA), and U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Brittney Ridgeway, 29, of Buffalo, NY, with possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of heroin. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul C. Parisi, who is handling the case, stated that according to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, on November 24, 2017, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Cheektowaga Police officers responded to a report of a possible overdose death. After the officers arrived, they discovered a deceased 28 year-old female in the residence. Investigators who examined the scene discovered a NARCAN kit which had been opened but unused, items of drug paraphernalia, and a red and white checkered wax envelope, the type commonly used to package heroin.

Also discovered, was a cellular phone belonging to the deceased woman. Investigators accessed the contents and recovered a series of text messages between the woman and another individual that appeared to be drug related in nature. Subsequent investigation determined that the other individual was Brittney Ridgeway.

The defendant was previously convicted on a federal charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of fentanyl and sentenced to 15 months in prison. Ridgeway was released on June 28, 2017, and began 36 months supervised release.

On November 29, 2017, United States Probation officers met with the defendant. Ridgeway refused to provide her cell phone for examination. Officers then conducted a search of Ridgeway's Waverly Street residence and recovered a box containing numerous red and white checkered wax envelopes, similar in physical size and color to the envelope found near the deceased woman. Ridgeway was uncooperative with Probation Officers conducting the investigation.

The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Division; the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Zack; and the U.S. Probation Department, under the direction of Chief Probation Officer Anthony San Giacomo.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven.

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