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Mother allegedly used children to transport fentanyl from New Mexico to Texas

Parents warn about fentanyl overdoses
Parents warn about fentanyl overdoses 02:11

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 hid a deadly dose of fentanyl inside her children's luggage, according to U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.

Banuelos allegedly gave her boyfriend the fentanyl that killed him - she has been indicted on distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death. 

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

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

Surveillance video showed the father picked up the boys from the gate, rifled through their luggage, then went into the airport restroom at around 10:26 p.m. 

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

Investigators found a Clinique brand makeup container inside the bathroom stall, containing more than a gram of fentanyl. 

"I feel for these children. To lose one parent due to the actions of the other is a calamity for a child," said U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham. "This defendant allegedly concealed fentanyl – a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin – in her own minor sons' luggage. This drug has stolen too many futures and ruined too many lives. The Justice Department remains determined to hold accountable those who spread it."

Investigators also recovered text messages between Banuelos and her boyfriend, suggesting she knew he had planned to take the fentanyl:

"Hey you need to be careful," she wrote a few hours before he died.

"Yes ma'am. Very slow and easy," he replied.

"Just one and then wait you'll see," she said. "Just one."

"Ok cool. Thank you. Will do," he said.

"No passing out on the kitchen floor," she responded. "Seriously you could od. No dying on the kitchen floor… It's going to f**k you up!!!"

"This arrest and detention is yet another example of the devastation that fentanyl continues to reap on families throughout the country. The actions of Ms. Banuelos risked the lives of her minor children by concealing a highly potent drug in their luggage during a flight from Albuquerque to Dallas," said Acting Special Agent in Charge W. Guy Baker of the DEA Dallas Field Division. 

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