This letter is in response to the article about a Cayuga County drug dealer getting a break. Words can’t begin to describe my anger and frustration. In July 2015 I found my son Kristopher dead from a heroin and fentanyl overdose; he was 23 years old. He was one of many that summer, the deadliest Cayuga County had ever seen. And it is on the rise.

I have stood on the steps of city hall, been to several schools in our county, spoken with Auburn native John Walsh at a fundraiser — all telling the story of my son’s death. I am a founding member of H.E.A.L.: Heroine Epidemic Action League. All those schools, all those speeches, DA Budelmann stood beside me, which now feels like a knife in my heart. The betrayal for me is overwhelming. 

DA Budelmann's own words in the newspaper article describe it as “a regular drug processing house.” “Found were hundreds if not thousands of doses of fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin.” Also found were glassine envelopes of heroin and 32.5 pounds of marijuana. 

This woman was originally charged with five felonies but pleaded to one count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class B felony. Sentenced to shock probation, drug court and ordered to $140 restitution for two drug sales. It cost me upward of $6,000 to bury my child. But no amount of money compares to the heartbreak and loss me and my family feel every moment of every day. 

Her defense is she was more a drug user than a drug dealer, claiming she started selling in 2016, the same year she was arrested. Yet in that time frame she acquired all those drugs, all packaged and ready for sale? Really, you want me to believe that? Never ever will I. This was more than selling a few bags for money to support a habit. This is dealing, “a regular (drug) processing house.”

As a parent of a dead child I want to know that whoever put this poison on the streets will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. To send a strong message that Cayuga County stands firm against drug dealers. That the sons and daughters of this community matter. That the grief and the heartache of the parents and friends of those in a position to hold dealers accountable. And in my opinion DA Budelmann and Judge Mark Fandrich failed on every point.

Cindy Cooper​