Mom allegedly sent the kids with fentanyl for dad. He overdosed in the airport. - Albuquerque Journal

Mom allegedly sent the kids with fentanyl for dad. He overdosed in the airport.

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Authorities say an Albuquerque woman used her children’s luggage to smuggle fentanyl on a Dallas-bound flight before the boys’ father overdosed and died in the airport bathroom as the kids waited outside.

Magdalena Banuelos, 46, was federally indicted on distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death in the Northern District of Texas.

If convicted, Banuelos faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years and up to life in prison.

“I feel for these children. To lose one parent due to the actions of the other is a calamity for a child,” U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham for the Northern District of Texas said in a statement. “… This drug has stolen too many futures and ruined too many lives. The Justice Department remains determined to hold accountable those who spread it.”

On May 31, Banuelos put her 8- and 10-year-old sons on a flight from Albuquerque to Dallas Love Field to visit their dad, according to federal court records. Surveillance video showed the father picked the boys up at the gate around 10:25 p.m. and went through one of the boy’s bags, before taking them into an airport restroom.

Authorities say the father overdosed and collapsed in the stall, and the boys left the restroom to get help. The man was pronounced dead from a fentanyl overdose and, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “inside the stall, investigators recovered a Clinique brand make-up container containing more than a gram of fentanyl.”

Authorities found text messages exchanged between Banuelos and the father in which she warns him of the drug’s potency: “Hey you need to be careful,” according to court records. He replied, according to the release, “Yes ma’am. Very slow and easy.”

Banuelos messaged, “Seriously you could od. No dying on the kitchen floor,” according to court records. The father replied, “I have to be present and everyone watches me like a hawk. So on[e] puff to take the edge off will be soooo needed.”

Banuelos messaged, “Seriously you could od. No dying on the kitchen floor,” according to court records. The father replied, “I have to be present and everyone watches me like a hawk. So on[e] puff to take the edge off will be soooo needed.”

Court records state Banuelos wrote, “Yeah, but it’s going to (expletive) you up!!!”

During a Nov. 17 detention hearing in New Mexico, prosecutors argued that Banuelos “used her minor children to mule drugs,” according to the release.

A federal judge ordered Banuelos to remain behind bars until trial.

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