Drug charges for Buffalo man after festival death

NEW YORK (AP) — A Western New York man was arrested Wednesday morning on narcotics charges in connection to the overdose death of another man at a New York City music festival, authorities said.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Patrick Morgan, 23, of Buffalo was charged with one count of conspiring to distribute narcotics and another count of distributing narcotics. The counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Morgan was released on $100,000 signature bond Wednesday afternoon and ordered to return to court on Monday. His attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Authorities say Morgan sold about 80 pills of MDMA, or ecstasy, to three other men in August 2013. The men later attended the Electric Zoo music festival on Randall’s Island in New York City at the end of that month. One of the men, 23-year-old Jeffrey Russ of Rochester, died at the festival. Authorities ruled his death was caused by an overdose of MDMA combined with hyperthermia.

Russ was one of two people who died at the festival, along with 20-year-old Olivia Rotondo of Providence, Rhode Island, also from an overdose combined with hyperthermia. Several others were also hospitalized because of drug issues, authorities said.

The spate of drug-related problems prompted city officials to cancel the last day of performances, which had been slated to include high-profile performers including Avicii and David Guetta. The festival had been held in the city since 2009, drawing sizeable crowds. This year’s event is scheduled for August 29-31.

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