Hermilo Salcedo, 57, died Sunday at Mountainview Regional Medical Center, where he was transported early Friday after he choked on a plastic bag that contained at least three grams of cocaine.
The bag actually may have contained more cocaine that Salcedo swallowed, said Kelly Jameson, a spokeswoman for the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department.
Following Salcedo’s death Sunday, the sheriff’s department’s Criminal Investigation Division was assigned to examine the circumstances of the man’s death, Jameson said.
Salcedo was arrested shortly after 4 p.m. Aug. 2 on a warrant charging him with two counts of drug trafficking.
While swapping his street clothes for a detention center jumpsuit about 2 a.m. Friday, Salcedo underwent a full-body search when a detention center officer noticed a portion of a plastic bag protruding from the man’s rectum.
The officer directed Salcedo to extract the bag himself and, after doing so, Salcedo quickly stuck the bag in his mouth, Jameson said. The discovery of the drugs during the search would have subjected Salcedo to additional charges of drug possession and bringing contraband into a detention center.
Jameson was unable to say how long Salcedo had the bag in his mouth before the detention center officer realized the man was choking. The officer ordered Salcedo to remove the baggie from his mouth.
Doña Ana County spokesman Jess Williams said the officer, whom he declined to identify, unsuccessfully performed a maneuver aimed at dislodging the bag from Salcedo’s windpipe and also tried to extract the bag. The detention center’s medical staff was summoned and provided treatment until paramedics arrived. Salcedo was transported to the intensive care unit at a local hospital and died two days later.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal