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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hagerstown Woman Sentenced To Almost 6 Years In Federal Prison For Heroin Distribution

Distributed Heroin to a Victim Resulting in her Death

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Erica Lee Buffolino, age 25, of Hagerstown, Maryland late on August 2, 2016, to 71 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute heroin and distribution of heroin.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don A. Hibbert of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore; and Hagerstown Police Chief Victor V. Brito.

“This investigation and case represents the dangers of heroin use, possession, and distribution, not only in Metropolitan areas like Baltimore, but also in more rural areas like Hagerstown and Western Maryland” stated Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don A. Hibbert.  “People need to be aware of the fact that heroin kills.  If you distribute heroin to someone and that person dies as a result of using the heroin, you are complicit in their death, it is as simple as that.  Given the fact that the heroin on the street today is much more potent than it was 10, or even 5 years ago, and that it can be “cut” with fentanyl or other unknown ingredients, heroin use is a death waiting to happen.”

According to Buffolino’s plea agreement, early on April 13, 2015 Buffolino met the victim, a 19-year old woman from Clear Spring, Maryland, at a residence in Hagerstown. Buffolino was a long-time heroin addict and the victim was a recovering heroin addict who had recently been released from jail. While at the residence, the victim asked Buffolino to give her heroin.  Buffolino initially refused, but sometime after 1:30 a.m., she agreed to share her “morning stash” of heroin with the victim, who injected the heroin and became high. 

Buffolino later called co-defendant Cory Kline to obtain more heroin. Cory Kline and another co-defendant arrived at the residence sometime after 3:00 a.m. and the victim purchased half a gram of heroin to repay Buffolino for the “morning stash” of heroin that she had shared earlier.  According to Buffolino, the victim again asked for some of the heroin and Buffolino initially resisted.  Eventually, Buffolino relented and provided some heroin to the victim. After injecting the heroin, the victim became very high and reported feeling ill and wanting to lie down. The victim fell asleep in Buffolino’s bed, but Buffolino woke her up when she noticed the victim was having difficulty breathing. Kline left the residence sometime before 6:00 a.m. Buffolino and the victim got into an argument and the victim left the residence in her car at about 6:15 a.m. The victim spoke to another individual on her cell phone from that time until approximately 7:06 a.m. on April 13. According to this individual, the victim stated she was very high and did not feel right, and the individual could hear the victim throwing up. The victim reported driving to a convenience store parking lot, and then to a nearby church. Toward the end of the call, the victim began nodding off and then stopped speaking.  The victim’s body was discovered the following day in her car in a church parking lot in Hagerstown. The medical examiner reported that the cause of death was heroin intoxication. There were no drugs or drug paraphernalia found inside the vehicle, nor does the victim’s cell phone reflect any completed calls or outgoing messages after 7:06 a.m. on April 13. 

Cory Allen Kline, age 32, of Hagerstown, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA and Washington County Narcotics Task Force for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christina Hoffman and Robert R. Harding, who prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated August 3, 2016