A Saratoga Springs man is in federal custody on charges he supplied heroin to a woman who then overdosed and died, according to recent federal court filings.
Matthew P. Charo, 34, is accused of going with the woman by bus from Saratoga Springs to Schenectady in early October 2014 to find her heroin.
Charo purchased heroin, provided it to her and she later overdosed and died at her Saratoga Springs residenc, according to the filing. The woman who died is formally identified in paperwork by her initials, “K.S.”
“Our investigation revealed that K.S. and Charo spent approximately one hour in Schenectady and that during that time Matthew P. Charo obtained heroin from another which he in turn provided to K.S.,” the federal complaint reads.
The woman returned home that evening in what her boyfriend later described to authorities as a highly intoxicated condition. Her boyfriend then discovered her dead in the bathroom the next morning.
The medical examiner ruled her death was from acute heroin intoxication.
Charo, according to the federal court filing, ultimately admitted to investigators he provided K.S. heroin the evening before she died.
Charo is formally charged with distribution of a controlled substance with death resulting from use of the controlled substance. The charge carries a potential sentence of up to life in prison.
Charo appeared in U.S. District Court earlier this week and Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel ordered him held pending trial.
Charo is represented by attorney Timothy F. Austin of the federal public defender’s office. Austin declined to comment Friday.
The FBI led the investigation with assistance from the state police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team. The state police referred comment to the FBI, which referred comment to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
CDTA surveillance video and the woman’s food stamp card records were key to the case.
Investigators obtained the CDTA surveillance footage from Oct. 2, 2014, the night before K.S. died. The footage shows the woman and Charo boarding a bus in Saratoga Springs at 6:02 p.m. and then getting off in Schenectady at 7:08.
K.S. then boarded a bus back to Saratoga Springs at 8:14 p.m. and arrived at her residence at about 9:45 p.m.
Investigators also cited cellphone records and the woman’s food stamp EBT card. Cellphone records showed the number used by Charo checked the balance on the woman’s card prior to her returning to Saratoga Springs.
Investigators first made contact with Charo June 3 in Saratoga Springs. He agreed to speak with them at the Albany FBI building.
Charo initially said he knew K.S. but he hadn’t seen her in two or three years. Confronted by the CDTA surveillance video, his account changed. He’d seen her, but he did not help her get drugs, he said.
Investigators finally confronted him with the EBT card records.
“Matthew P. Charo subsequently admitted that he helped K.S. get heroin and that he obtained the heroin he provided to Katie from Individual A,” the filing reads.
He then described his interaction with K.S. in detail, according to the filing:
Charo first saw K.S. on a bus. She told him she’d been trying to buy heroin that day, but hadn’t gotten any. The investigation showed she’d unsuccessfully tried to purchase the drug from another person earlier that day.
Charo then admitted to obtaining three bags of heroin for K.S. She used two in his presence, he said. He contended she did not appear overly intoxicated.
He admitted checking the balance on her EBT card and then giving the card to “Individual A” as payment for the heroin.
Reach Gazette reporter Steven Cook at 395-3122, firstname.lastname@example.org or @ByStevenCook on Twitter.