Police say drugs, $43,000 cash found in home
78-year-old man is charged with running a drug distribution enterprise from his home in Platte County, a venture he says he used to supplement his retirement income, according to charges outlined in court documents filed last week.
Authorities say a confidential informant had been purchasing drugs, primarily marijuana, from the suspect’s home as part of an investigation that spanned the course of a year. The tipster had told authorities that “large amounts” of drugs were being distributed from the home.
Ronald C. Ridings, 78, was charged last week after authorities executed a search warrant at his residence in the 5800 block of NW 67th Terrace, which is in a cul-de-sac a few blocks west of NW Prairie View and south of 72nd Street.
Ridings is charged with the felony of delivery of a controlled substance. Also charged is his son, Benjamin Ridings, age 42. Authorities say the younger Ridings, who lives at the same address, possessed psilocybin mushrooms with the intent to distribute. The younger Ridings allegedly told authorities he sells his father’s marijuana and THC wax from the home when his father isn’t home or is sleeping. According to court documents, the younger Ridings said he would guess he has sold drugs about five times in the past month but couldn’t estimate how many times he has sold over the past six months.
The search warrant was executed last Wednesday, May 19 at 6: 15 a.m. According to court documents, authorities found over $43,000 in cash in the house, which they believe to be proceeds from narcotics sales. Authorities say other items found in the home included more than one pound of marijuana, THC wax, materials to manufacture THC wax, paraphernalia items including marijuana bongs, marijuana grinders, scales and a gas mask marijuana bong.
Authorities said cocaine paraphernalia in the form of cut straws and razor blades with residue were located in the downstairs living room and in the elder Ridings’ bedroom.
According to the allegations, in an interview with detectives the elder Ridings allegedly said he was making more than $2,000 per month on marijuana and wax sales. He told sheriff’s detectives he did it to supplement his retirement income.
The younger Ridings, according to court documents, told authorities the majority of the people who come to the house to buy drugs are young people.
HOW THE INVESTIGATION BEGAN
In March of 2020, detectives assigned to the MoWIN Drug Task Force interviewed a citizen who wished to remain anonymous regarding an ongoing drug distribution operation at the Ridings residence. The tipster named Ronald C. Ridings, also known as “Papa,” as the distributor of large amounts of marijuana in leaf form, wax, edibles, opiates, cocaine and other illicit drugs. The informant also told detectives several tens of thousands of dollars in currency is kept in the residence, the proceeds from drug sales.
The first drug deal detailed in court documents occurred on June 17, 2020 around 9:45 a.m. The informant arrived at the home with $200 with which he intended to buy one ounce of marijuana. At the home, Ridings and the informant disagreed on the price. Ridings took four grams off the ounce and sold 22 grams of marijuana to the informant for $200, authorities say.
The next transaction mentioned in court documents occurred on July 15, 2020. The informant arrived at Ridings’ residence about 1:20 p.m. with $260 for the purchase of one ounce of marijuana. Upon arrival, the informant was told Ronald Ridings was asleep and his son Benjamin Ridings was there to accept the $260 in exchange for the marijuana, authorities say.
On Sept. 8, 2020, the informant arrived at the home at about 2:30 p.m. with $260 for one ounce of marijuana. While the informant was at the residence, the elder Ridings allegedly discussed how his grandson sold “Molly” (MDMA) and had recently sold out of psilocybin mushrooms. The informant made the $260 purchase of marijuana and left the residence.
On Nov. 16, 2020 at about 3:50 p.m., the informant arrived at the Ridings residence with $260 for an ounce of marijuana. According to court documents, Ridings told the informant he had psilocybin mushrooms for sale at $10 per gram. Authorities say the informant made the purchase of marijuana and agreed to the purchase of two grams of psilocybin mushrooms for $20. The informant went back a short time later and completed the purchase of the mushrooms, according to police.
On May 5 at shortly after 1 p.m., the informant arrived at Ridings’ residence with $260 for the purchase of one ounce of marijuana. During that transaction, the conversation was regarding area dispensaries charging $80 for an 1/8th ounce of marijuana. Ridings assured the informant his prices weren’t rising, and in fact the one ounce he was buying would only be charged at $200. The sale of marijuana was made and the informant left the residence.
Authorities say after each buy, the marijuana or psilocybin was transported to the Platte County Sheriff’s Office for weighing and testing. Each time marijuana was purchased, the product field tested positive for THC, according to court documents. Authorities say the mushrooms tested positive for psilocybin, a controlled substance.
Ronald Ridings and Benjamin Ridings are both being represented by attorney Brian Costello.
Both have posted surety bonds and are no longer in custody. A preliminary hearing for Ronald Ridings is set for this week. Next court date for Benjamin Ridings is set for June 1.