Suspected heroin dealer faces life sentence in overdose death of Portsmouth woman

Posted May 30, 2013, at 6:31 a.m.
Last modified May 30, 2013, at 7:49 a.m.

BRENTWOOD, N.H. — A woman accused of selling heroin to a 22-year-old Portsmouth resident who died of an overdose last year is facing a potential lifetime jail sentence.

Police say 41-year-old Jennifer Landry supplied heroin to Svetlana Filippenko on Nov. 20, 2012, one day before she was found dead by a family member. An autopsy determined Filippenko died after ingesting or injecting heroin.

Landry, formerly of 309 Oriental Gardens in Portsmouth, is being held on $50,000 cash bail. She was arrested in Portland, Maine, last year as local police investigated the circumstances surrounding Filippenko’s death.

Police claim Landry sold the Portsmouth High School graduate $45 worth of heroin. Under New Hampshire law, anyone who manufactures or sells schedule I or schedule II drugs linked with an overdose death can be sentenced to a lifetime jail term.

Filippenko’s brother found her body inside her bedroom when he entered the room on Wednesday, Nov. 21, to shut off an alarm clock that was sounding at approximately 9:30 a.m., according to a police affidavit. Evidence collected from the scene included five syringes and a spoon with brown residue. Police also found 10 empty wrappers for the drug suboxone, used to treat opiate addiction.

Detectives used text messages to identify Landry as a suspect in Filippenko’s death. In one text message, Landry allegedly told Filippenko the heroin was “twice as strong” as a previous batch, according to a report by the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Investigators also developed information about the case through an interview with another man who was being arrested on a separate charge. The man reported he witnessed Landry selling heroin to Filippenko, according to a police affidavit, and also said he had previously introduced the two women.

Landry allegedly admitted to carrying out the transaction when she was interviewed by police on Dec. 12, 2012, according to multiple published reports.

Landry was indicted this month by a Rockingham County grand jury on two felony drug sales charges, which propose alternate theories of the crime. One alleges the heroin sale led to Filippenko’s death. A second count asserts only that Landry sold Filippenko drugs — a charge punishable by a jail term of between three-and-a-half and seven years, and a fine of up to $100,000.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. Rather, it signifies the jury found there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.

In court last year, Portsmouth police prosecutor David Colby argued Landry should be considered both a flight risk and a danger to society, based on her criminal record. Landry told a judge she was out on bail last year on separate charges, and was not employed due to a disability. She was ordered to undergo random drug testing on a weekly basis if she posts bail.

Landry pleaded not guilty and waived a scheduled arraignment on the felony charges following this month’s indictment. A structuring conference in her case has been set for July.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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