LYONS, NJ -- A former Marine and Iraq war veteran allegedly gave heroin to a fellow veteran who would then die of an overdose at the in Lyons in early July.
Ryan Krieger, 28, an in-patient resident at the post-traumatic stress disorder ward, also obstructed the investigation, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Krieger and the overdose victim called a taxi and left the hospital to buy heroin in Paterson on July 1, according to the Department of Justice. They allegedly withdrew $500 from the overdose victim's bank account at an ATM, before Krieger allegedly purchased the heroin. According to the Department of Justice, the two returned to the hospital, where they were joined by another in-patient resident before all using the heroin in the overdose victim's room.
According to the Department of Justice, the three patients were using heroin in the early hours of July 2 when the victim collapsed and lost consciousness. Krieger and the other patient did not notify anyone at the hospital, and the staff discovered the victim's body in his room the following afternoon, according to the Department of Justice.
Krieger allegedly lied about his activities on the night of the victim's death to special agents with the VA's Office of the Inspector General, which investigated the circumstances of the death. According to the Department of Justice, he only admitted his role when he was confronted with physical evidence, which included a surveillance video from the ATM machine in Paterson. Krieger allegedly told an individual at the hospital months later that he administered the heroin to the victim and that when he appeared to overdose, Krieger did not help and instead propped him up in his bed to make it appear that he had taken the heroin by himself.
Krieger faces a count of drug distribution with a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $1 million fine, and an obstruction charge with a maximum term of 20 years and a $250,00 fine or twice the gain or loss caused.