VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach woman who pleaded guilty in December to drug charges, and supplied a woman with fentanyl that killed her, was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Mark Davis called Michelle Best, 44, a “Jekyll and Hyde type character.” He described several letters he received in support of Best, but also said she ran an illegal and lucrative drug operation, and that there is a “quite obvious need to protect the public.”
Best was arrested last March, when a Virginia Beach SWAT team found heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, $44,000 in cash and four guns in her upscale Croatan home.
Court documents show an operation led by Best and also involving her cousin Darin Milligan and Christopher Bardall.
Prosecutors say they sold a deadly batch of fentanyl to a woman identified in court only as Kimberly, 23. After taking the fentanyl, Kimberly went into a 17-hour coma and died the following day.
Kimberly’s father did not want to share his name, but did share his grief.
“It’s terrible. Every morning I wake up still, I’ll look out my blind to see if her car’s in the driveway, and it’s not there.”
Her defense attorney told the judge that Best was beaten by her husband, and was exposed to domestic violence growing up at home. Best cried as she apologized to Kimberly’s family, although she did not turn around to look directly at them.
“She might have been sincere at the moment,” Kimberly’s father said. “But according to all the evidence it seems like it flip-flops a little bit.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Butler called Michelle Best callous and heartless, who kept on selling drugs even after Kimberly overdosed and died. According to prosecutors, upon learning that Kimberly had died from the fentanyl, Best told Milligan to keep it quiet and carry on with business as usual.
“That’s bad. That’s real bad,” Kimberly’s father said.
Milligan was sentenced to seven years in prison. Bardall hasn’t been sentenced yet but prosecutors are asking for more than 12 years.