A 27-year-old mother in Ohio was arrested this week after law enforcement authorities allegedly recovered an estimated $30,000 worth of unlawful pharmaceutical drugs that she was “hiding” on her children. Victoria N. Barrientos was taken into custody on Monday and was initially charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trafficking in fentanyl, and money laundering, authorities announced.
Prosecutors on Wednesday morning also filed several additional charges against Barrientos following her initial appearance in Zanesville Municipal Court. Those additional charges include endangering children, corrupting a child with drugs, trafficking in drugs within a school zone, and possession of drugs pertaining to her arrest.
During Wednesday’s hearing, a judge ordered Barrientos’ bond to be reduced from $750,000 to $500,000. However, after filing the latest batch of charges against Barrientos, prosecutors also filed court documents seeking to have her bond increased to $1 million.
Barrientos has a long history of criminal activity in the area and has previously been convicted on drug-related charges and money laundering, Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release.
According to the release, Barrientos originally went to prison after she was convicted of laundering money for her boyfriend, Deangelo “D-Lo” Tellis. Tellis is currently serving a 15-year sentence for “engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and narcotics trafficking,” prosecutors said. Upon her release, Barrientos allegedly began reintegrating herself into the drug trafficking community.
Detectives with the Zanesville / Muskingum County Joint Drug Unit and the CODE Task Force began following her alleged drug “operation” for almost a year, per the release. During that time, investigators said they were able to observe “the gradual reintroduction of her boyfriend’s Columbus-based associates to the Muskingum County area.”
With the evidence obtained from the investigation, authorities on Monday enacted a traffic stop on Barrientos’ vehicle as she was on her way to Zanesville to try and regain custody of one of her children, prosecutors wrote.
“Children’s Services arrived at the stop because Barrientos had other children with her who needed to be placed in proper care. While sorting through the children’s care items, caseworkers found a large quantity of suspected suboxone strips which had been individually bagged for distribution,” the release states. “Suboxone is a street drug of abuse marketed by pharmaceutical companies as an alternative to opiates. The drugs planted on the child have an estimated prison value of $30,000.”
Suboxone is typically used to treat opioid addiction and acts by binding the receptors in the brain that opiates typically target, blunting the intoxication.
Prosecutors noted that a component of Ohio’s law for the charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity is that a defendant’s “future criminality” can be aggregated – or combined – with previous criminal conduct, regardless of whether the defendant has already served their sentence for that previous conduct.
“Therefore, Barrientos’s previous convictions for money laundering can be used in conjunction with her new crimes to further demonstrate the pattern of corrupt activities,” prosecutors wrote.
If convicted on the latest charges, Barrientos is facing a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.