Saturday, August 23, 2014

Woman in Ottawa drug ring sentenced

By The Herald Staff | 3/31/2014

KANSAS CITY, KAN. — An Ottawa woman was sentenced Monday to 30 months in federal prison for peddling prescription drugs — the latest sentencing in a drug ring that investigators linked to a man’s death in 2009.

Brandi Bivens, 32, Ottawa, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone and morphine. In her plea, she admitted she conspired with her mother and co-defendant, Connie Edwards, as well as other co-defendants, from November 2007 to February 2012, to distribute prescription drugs, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The investigation began when the Franklin County Drug Enforcement Unit received information that Edwards was selling prescription drugs in Ottawa. Investigators set up surveillance and observed Bivens and Edwards picking up prescriptions at pharmacies, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a release.

Investigators made undercover purchases of prescription drugs from the two women, the release said, and state prescription drug records showed that from 2009 to August 2010, Bivens received 1,056 morphine tablets, 351 hydrocodone tablets, 432 oxycodone tablets and 1,520 oxycontin tablets.

Edwards, 61, was sentenced in March 2013 to 25 years in federal prison.

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, prosecutors said. 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, a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release said in 2013.

Edwards was present when the victim bought the drugs, but the associate handled the sale, the release said.

Other co-defendants included:

• Shirley Price, who was sentenced to 84 months.

• Tamara Ledom, who was sentenced to 216 months.

• Brittany Edwards, who was sentenced to 15 months.

• Angela Mitchell, who was sentenced to probation for one year.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom commended the Ottawa Police Department, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri McCracken for their work on the case.

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