Man and woman arrested, charged with obstruction involving overdose heroin death
Defendants communicated via Facebook Messages: “Police just called me... Need to talk ASAP.”
BUFFALO, N.Y.– U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division, Raymond P. Donovan and U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Kevin Toth, 29, of Tonawanda, NY, and Samantha Yeates, 27, of Depew, NY, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with obstruction of justice. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremiah E. Lenihan, who is handling the case, stated that on Dec. 28, 2018, City of Tonawanda Police and Fire personnel responded to a report of an unresponsive man found in the bathroom of Snyder Industries. Several doses of Narcan were administered but the man was declared dead.
The complaint further states a review of security video footage from Dec. 28, 2018, shows defendant Yeates in a red pick-up truck, in the parking lot of Snyder Industries. Defendant Toth is observed approaching the pick-up truck. A short time later, Toth is seen walking back inside the building and walking toward the work space area of the deceased man and handing him an item.
The deceased man is then observed walking towards the bathroom. A short time later, he was found unresponsive in a bathroom stall by fellow employees. In close proximity was a hypodermic needle and a spoon. The man was later pronounced dead with the cause of death determined to be acute intoxication with fentanyl.
On Dec. 29, 2018, defendant Toth denied handing anything to the decreased man when interviewed by a City of Tonawanda Detective. He did identify the person in the red truck as his girlfriend, defendant Yeates.
On Jan. 5, 2019, a City of Tonawanda Detective interviewed Yeates who stated she drove to Snyder Industries to give Toth his bank card, but later contradicted herself by stating she went to pick up Toth’s bank card. On Jan. 14, 2019, Yeates again stated to a detective she went to Snyder Industries to pick up a debit card from Toth and denied supplying heroin to Toth.
On Jan. 23, 2019, Yeates admitted to a detective she gave Toth heroin: “Yah, but I didn't give it to the other guy.”
On April 10, 2019, Toth told a detective neither he nor Yeates ever provided drugs or other narcotics to the deceased man. Toth also stated he did not know who provided the deadly fentanyl to the man at Snyder Industries.
Investigators obtained search warrants for the defendants’ Facebook Messages and cellular phones. Many Facebook and text conversations were deleted but one message exchanged between Toth and Yeates on Facebook stated: “Police just called me... Need to talk ASAP.” A text message between the two stated: “Sam I have to talk to you it's really important, I miss and love you.”
The defendants made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and were released.
The complaint is the result of an investigation by the DEA Buffalo Resident Office, and the City of Tonawanda Police Department.
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.