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Press Release

Jackson Woman Sentenced to Over 9 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Conspiracy and Illegally Possessing a Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Mississippi
Fake Prescription Drugs Seized Contained Deadly Heroin and Fentanyl

Gulfport, Miss – Erica Leigh Wooldridge, 44, of Jackson, Mississippi, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden to 51 months in federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, followed by a consecutive sentence of 60 months for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Derryle Smith.  Wooldridge was also ordered to pay a $7,500.00 fine.

On July 6, 2018, Biloxi police responded to a call regarding Wooldridge attempting to pass a $100.00 counterfeit bill at Walmart.  When officers arrived, they stopped the van driven by Wooldridge.  Another individual, Howard Lee Walker III, was in the passenger seat of the vehicle.  Wooldridge agreed to let officers search the van, and upon searching it, officers located a loaded 9mm pistol under the front console.  They also located 2 grams of methamphetamine and over 500 pills concealed in various locations in the van.  A cooperating source notified agents that Wooldridge drove to Biloxi to sell the pills.  The investigation revealed text messages between Wooldridge and several individuals discussing selling the pills.  Wooldridge admitted to owning the gun and possessing it for protection.  The pills looked exactly like Percocet pills. However, after sending the pills to the Mississippi Crime Laboratory, analysts discovered the pills were manufactured on the street and pressed with various drugs, including heroin and trace amounts of fentanyl. 

Wooldridge pled guilty on October 4, 2018.  Walker pled guilty on December 4, 2018, and will be sentenced on March 7, 2019.

This case was investigated by the Biloxi Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathlyn R. Van Buskirk.


Updated January 28, 2019

Drug Trafficking