Mom allegedly used kids to ship fentanyl from New Mexico to Texas

TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – An Albuquerque mother could face at least 20 years in prison for allegedly using her children to transport fentanyl.

Magdalena Silva Banuelos, 46, allegedly stashed a lethal dose of fentanyl in her children’s luggage, according to US Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.

Banuelos allegedly gave her boyfriend the fentanyl that killed him – she was charged with distributing a controlled substance causing death.

At a Nov. 17 detention hearing in New Mexico, prosecutors revealed that Banuelos and her boyfriend, who was also the father of her sons, were in an on-going relationship.

On May 31, she allegedly put the boys, 8 and 10, on a flight from Albuquerque to Texas to visit their father.

Surveillance video showed the father collecting the boys from the gate, rummaging through their luggage, and then going to the airport toilet at around 10:26 p.m

A few minutes later he overdosed and died in a toilet stall just steps from his sons.

Investigators found a Clinique-brand makeup container in the toilet stall that contained more than one gram of fentanyl.

“I feel for these children. Losing a parent because of the actions of the other is a misfortune for a child,” said US Attorney Chad Meacham. “This defendant allegedly stashed fentanyl — a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin — in the luggage of her own underage sons. This drug has stolen too many futures and ruined too many lives. The Justice Department remains committed to holding accountable those who spread it.”

Investigators also recovered text messages between Banuelos and her boyfriend that suggested she knew he was planning to take the fentanyl:

“Hey you gotta be careful,” she wrote hours before his death.

“Yes ma’am. Very slow and easy,” he replied.

“Just one and then wait, you’ll see,” she said. “Only one.”

“Okay cool. Thanks. Will do,” he said.

“No fainting spells on the kitchen floor,” she replied. “Seriously, you could od. No dying on the kitchen floor… It’ll piss you off!!!”

“This arrest and detention is another example of the devastation that fentanyl continues to wreak on families across the country. Ms. Banuelos’ actions risked the lives of her minor children by hiding a highly potent drug in her luggage during a flight from Albuquerque to Dallas,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge W. Guy Baker of the DEA Dallas Field Division.