Kids Unwittingly Play Role in Father's Overdose - Mom Charged with Using Them as Mules


A New Mexico mother was charged with a federal drug crime after using her children as fentanyl “mules” to transport the lethal dose that killed their father, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas announced Tuesday.

Magdalena Silva Banuelos of Albuquerque allegedly concealed a deadly dose of fentanyl in her children’s luggage and was indicted on distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Silva Banuelos is accused of giving her boyfriend, the father of her children, the lethal dose.

“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. This drug has stolen too many futures and ruined too many lives. The Justice Department remains determined to hold accountable those who spread it.”

Silva Banuelos allegedly put her 8- and 10-year-old sons on a flight from Albuquerque to Texas’s Dallas Love Field Airport on May 31 to visit their father, who she had an on-and-off relationship with. The father met the boys, looked through their luggage and went to the airport’s restroom, where he overdosed and died in a stall just minutes later.

Investigators later found a makeup container with more than one gram of fentanyl inside, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Two milligrams of fentanyl can amount to a deadly dose, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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Authorities recovered text messages between Silva Banuelos and her sons’ father, suggesting she knew of his plans to take the fentanyl and was aware of its lethality, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. She was later accused of using “her minor children to mule drugs.”

“Hey you need to be careful,” she texted only hours before he took the fentanyl.

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

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

“Ok cool. Thank you. Will do,” he said.

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

Silva Banuelos could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years and up to life in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Fentanyl is a highly-potent synthetic narcotic, largely responsible for more than 100,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2021.

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