SANTA FE, N.M. — Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested multiple people Friday who were allegedly selling drugs and bootleg liquor – often using a 7-year-old girl to deliver the liquor to the buyers in the area, according to a spokesman.
The latest in a string of Española-area drug busts left the six adults facing drug trafficking, liquor law violations, child abuse and drug possession charges, according to spokesman Jake Arnold.
Danny Trujillo and Jaime Gonzales face four counts of drug trafficking and two counts of child abuse each. A man who has refused to tell deputies his identity was also charged with four counts of drug trafficking and two counts of child abuse, along with concealing his identity, Arnold said. Silviano Romero was charged with drug possession.
Confidential informants gave detectives information that led to them to a home in Cordova – a small community east of Española – where they found traffickable amounts of heroin and cocaine, as well as a bootleg alcohol operation, Arnold said. He said he didn’t know the weight or amount of the narcotics. The four men were arrested there, and two more people – Floretina and Pedro Gonzales – were arrested away from the home and charged with one count each of drug trafficking.
Four children – a 5-year-old boy, a 3-year-old girl, a 5-year-old girl and a 7-year-old girl – were taken from the home by the state Children, Youth and Families Department, Arnold said. He said they were all related to one of the suspects who was arrested, but declined to say which one, citing child protection laws.
An adult man with some sort of mental health issues had been locked in a back room, according to Arnold, who didn’t know the condition of the room. Adult Protective Services responded to that man, who Arnold said was related to one of the people arrested.
After searching the home, deputies got a warrant to search another structure on the property that was believed to be hiding more drugs. Arnold said detectives were still searching that other structure late Friday.
It’s the fifth drug bust in five weeks, according to Arnold, who said Sheriff Tommy Rodella began working with detectives over a year ago to build the information network, leading to the busts. Rodella said a string of drug-related homicides helped him decide to focus on intelligence.
“We have enough (information) to run enough operations for the rest of the year, we just don’t have boots on the ground. There’s a lot more to come in terms of operations, drug busts,” Rodella said.