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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 30, 2018

Lockport Woman Charged With Threatening A Witness

CONTACT:  Barbara Burns
PHONE:      (716) 843-5817
FAX #:         (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Chanel Riggs, 27, of Lockport, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with threatening a witness scheduled to testify in a trial. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years and a $1,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, Riggs is the girlfriend of defendant Rico Freeman who is facing drug conspiracy charges and scheduled to go to trial on May 8, 2018. Late on April 26, 2018, Riggs called a witness for the Government and threatened to kill the witness and the witness’s child by putting a bullet through their head. Riggs further told the witness that she knew the witness was “snitching.” During a follow up recorded phone call, Riggs threatened the witness by saying, “(expletive) you had to have cooperated. It’s black and white that you told.”

The defendant made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and is being held pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 10, 2018 at 11 a.m.

The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by: the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division; the Niagara County Drug Task Force, under the direction of Sheriff James Votour; and the Lockport Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Niethe.

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 guilty.

Updated May 1, 2018