A mother who used her young children as drug mules to carry her USD 30,000 stash of heroin substitute is facing up to 30 years behind bars.
Accused Victoria N. Barrientos, 27, was arrested outside after packets of Suboxone were found being carried by her kids on Monday, 31st July, the Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office alleges.
Barrientos had been on her way to a custody hearing to argue that she should get another of her children back from state care.
Drugs police had halted her at a traffic stop on the way to the hearing and called in childcare experts to look after her children.
But as they went through the youngsters’ possessions, the horrified carers found strips of Suboxone, a pharmaceutical drug sold on the street as a heroin substitute, worth USD 30,000 (GBP 23,684).
Barrientos was charged with corruption, trafficking and money laundering.
She appeared at Zanesville Municipal Court on 2nd August where prosecutors added fresh charges of endangering children, corrupting a child with drugs, trafficking in drugs within a school zone, and possession of drugs which pertaining to her arrest were brought on Wednesday after she appeared at the court.
The police said they had been tracking her for nearly a year and noted that she had imported several members of her drug-dealing boyfriend’s network to the area.
Newsflash obtained a statement from the Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office on 2nd August, saying: “Detectives with the Zanesville / Muskingum County Joint Drug Unit and the CODE Task Force arrested a repeat drug offender Monday afternoon for her latest criminal activity, this time involving children.
“Initial charges filed against Victoria ‘Vic’ Barrientos included engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trafficking in fentanyl and money laundering.”
The statement continued: “Barrientos made her initial appearance in Zanesville Municipal Court Wednesday morning where bond was reduced from USD 750,000 to USD 500,000 [GBP 592,000 to GBP 395,000].
“Following the hearing, prosecutors filed additional charges of endangering children, corrupting a child with drugs, trafficking in drugs within a school zone, and possession of drugs pertaining to her arrest.
“The Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office requested a bond of USD 1 million [GBP 789,355] for the latest counts.”
Barrientos, prosecutors said, was just out of prison after money laundering for her boyfriend Deangelo ‘D-Lo’ Tellis, who is serving 15 years for drugs trafficking.
The police said: “At the time of her arrest, Barrientos was travelling to Zanesville in an attempt to regain custody of one of her children.
“Children’s Services arrived at the stop because Barrientos had other children with her who needed to be placed in proper care.
“While sorting through the children’s care items, caseworkers found a large quantity of suspected suboxone strips which had been individually bagged for distribution.
“Suboxone is a street drug of abuse marketed by pharmaceutical companies as an alternative to opiates.
“The drugs planted on the child have an estimated prison value of USD 30,000.
“One component of Ohio’s engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity offence is that instances of future criminality can be aggregated – or combined – with previous criminal conduct, even if the person has already served their sentence for the previous conduct.
“Under Ohio law, Barrientos’s previous convictions for money laundering can be used in conjunction with her new crimes to further demonstrate the pattern of corrupt activities.
“In the spring of 2022, the Prosecutor’s office negotiated a plea agreement for Barrientos to serve four and one-half years in prison, but ultimately she was sentenced to just 18 months.”