Friday, December 19, 2014

Ottawa woman gets 25 years for drug ring

By The Herald Staff | 3/5/2013

KANSAS CITY, KAN. — An Ottawa woman has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for running a prescription drug trafficking ring linked to the 2009 death of a man in Ottawa.

Connie Edwards, 61, Ottawa, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute prescription drugs. In her plea, she admitted that from Nov. 1, 2007, to Feb. 28, 2012, she conspired with others to distribute oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine and other prescription drugs in Ottawa, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

An investigation began early in 2010 when the Franklin County Drug Enforcement Unit received information that people working for Edwards were distributing prescription drugs in Ottawa, the release said. Sources told investigators Edwards rented to people who paid her in prescription pills and she accepted stolen property in payment for pills, Grissom said in the release.

On May 10, 2009, a victim who bought drugs from the Edwards’ organization was found unconscious in the living room of his mother’s home. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. An autopsy revealed that he died from taking a toxic combination of methadone, hydrocodone and carisoprodol, the release aid. The victim’s name was not released.

Investigators learned that the afternoon before the victim died he went to Edwards’ house, where he bought a white powder he was told was methamphetamine, Grissom said in the release. One of Edwards’ associates produced the powder by crushing prescription pills including hydrocodone, methadone and carisoprodol, the release said.

Edwards was present when the victim bought the drugs, but the associate handled the sale. Later that evening, the victim purchased prescription pills from Edwards, who delivered the pills to the victim in a van outside the Hidden Meadows apartment complex in Ottawa, the release said. The victim then took the pills and injected the substance he believed was methamphetamine, creating a toxic combination that caused his death, law enforcement officials have said.

Investigators documented numerous incidents in which Edwards and her associates sold prescription drugs.

Co-defendants include:

• Brittany Edwards, 20, Ottawa, who is set for sentencing May 6.   

• Shirley Price, 45, Ottawa, who is set for sentencing June 10.

• Dustin Price, 24, Ottawa, who is set for sentencing May 6.

• Joel Keith Price, 55, Ottawa, who is set for sentencing May 6.

• Morgan Price, 22, Ottawa, who was sentenced to 5 years probation with six months in a halfway house.

• Brandi Bivens, 31, Ottawa, who is set for sentencing July 22.

• Angela Mitchell, 36, Ottawa, who is set for sentencing April 29.

• Tamara Ledom, 37, Ottawa, who is set for sentencing May 28.

• Florence Edwards, 39, Ottawa, who is set for sentencing April 15.

Grissom commended the Franklin County Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Ottawa Police Department, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri McCracken for their work on the case.

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