U.S.

New Mexico mother used children to ‘mule’ fentanyl that killed their father, feds say


A New Mexico mother allegedly used her two children to traffic fentanyl to their father, who later suffered a fatal overdose from the opioid, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas announced on Tuesday. 

Magdalena Silva Banuelos, 46, faces up to life in prison for distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death.

Banuelos allegedly concealed more than a gram of fentanyl in a Clinique brand makeup container that she placed in her sons’ luggage before putting them on a flight to visit their father in Texas. 

“Surveillance video shows that the father picked up the boys from the gate, rifled through their luggage, and then entered the airport restroom at around 10:26 p.m.,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “A few minutes later, he overdosed and died in a restroom stall, just steps away from his sons.  

FILE PHOTO: A reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly after a news conference about deaths from fentanyl exposure, at DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

FILE PHOTO: A reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly after a news conference about deaths from fentanyl exposure, at DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
(WHD Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Their sons are 8 and 10 years old. Banuelos and the boys’ father were in an on-again, off-again relationship, according to the U.S. Attorney. 

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Banuelos allegedly warned the boys’ father about the drugs in text messages, telling him he needs to “be careful.” 

“No passing out on the kitchen floor,” she texted him. “Seriously you could od. No dying on the kitchen floor… It’s going to f— you up!!!”

The boy’s father told her he would take it “very slow and easy.”

Dallas Love Field Airport, where the father overdosed soon after his sons arrived with fentanyl that their mother concealed in luggage. 

Dallas Love Field Airport, where the father overdosed soon after his sons arrived with fentanyl that their mother concealed in luggage. 
(HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“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 said in a statement. “This defendant allegedly concealed fentanyl – a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin – in her own minor sons’ luggage

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Banuelos faces a mandatory minium of 20 years if convicted and up to life in prison. 



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