Two women were arrested on drug trafficking charges in Mississippi in what is the state’s largest recorded drug bust. However, it was not the massive amount of drugs that made their crimes shocking, but the fact that the infant child of one of the women was also in the car at the time of the arrest. The women’s reckless plan included a long distance drive with heroin and an infant in the vehicle.
Trisha Lynne Ibarra, 23, from Laredo, Texas, and Arlene Viridiana Moya, 23, from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, were transporting 51 pounds of heroin, worth an estimated value of at least $10 million when they were arrested in Mississippi. Police were shocked at the quantity of drugs that they found, but not by the cartel members’ “ruthless” endangering of a child.
The women were pulled over around 9 P.M. on Monday on Interstate 20 by the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department for a “routine traffic violation.”
Noticing that the vehicle had been tampered with, and suspecting drug involvement, responding officers called for the car to be examined more extensively, sending it to the Sheriff Department’s shop. The women reportedly consented to the search. Ibarra’s three-month-old baby was in the car at the time of the stop.
Sheriff Bryan Bailey reported that investigating officers soon discovered that the gas tank on the Ford SUV had been removed and replaced with a large amount of heroin for distribution. Moya was driving the vehicle, and Ibarra owned it.
The women were arrested for aggravated drug trafficking and the infant was “placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.” They are currently detained at Rankin County Jail without bond and could face life sentences.
This is unfortunately not the first of this type of drug bust and is similar to a situation that occurred in Washington last December.
Three women were driving with only a small amount of heroin that they were likely using, not transporting. However, they also had paraphernalia in the car such as straws and syringes, which the child they were also traveling with had access to.
One of the most horrific drug busts occurred in 2016 in Wyoming when authorities seized a reported $25,000 worth of heroin from a home where five children from two to nine-years-old lived in “deplorable conditions;” law enforcement condemned the building as unfit to inhabit.
The Police Commissioner on the case, Michael Flanagan was grateful to spare the Wyoming community of the drugs entering, but all the incidents remain upsetting in that the children involved were exposed to such situations.
It has not been reported whether the Mississippi women showed any remorse for endangering the infant. Additionally, the mother surely knew of the consequences had they been caught trafficking. It apparently was not either woman’s primary concern.
Sheriff Bailey noted that a “regular mom or dad” would not take such a chance, but that these women were working for Mexican drug cartels.
It is disturbing that the two women were fine with transporting dangerous substances with an infant with them. Perhaps they felt safer with a baby in the car and that they would not be suspected of criminal activity. That is an even more frightening act of negligence that they would risk the child’s safety in such a way.
Sheriff Bailey noted that drug cartels, however, “go to whatever means necessary” to continue conducting illegal activities without attracting the attention of law enforcement.
However, he expressed relief in catching the women, saying that the officers who caught Laredo and Moya potentially “saved hundreds of lives” by confiscating the drugs.
The district attorney for Rankin and Madison counties, Michael Guest, reported that the women’s destination was Atlanta, George. Considering that they were in possession of white heroin, often produced in Mexico, investigating officers speculate that is where they picked up the drugs.
Hopefully, an arrest of this magnitude will lead drug enforcement teams to one of the United States’ main suppliers.
Law enforcement is reportedly increasing measures to catch large-scale drug dealers, saying, “we cannot let up on it.”
Perhaps the most unfortunate part of the story, however, is that the child who was in the vehicle now does not have a mother and may grow up in the foster system.
While the addiction side of the drug industry is devastating, as seen in the current opioid epidemic, the production and transport side of drug smuggling world rarely makes headlines. In this incident alone, many lives were destroyed from an intercepted shipment of illegal substances that never even hit the streets.