FARMINGTON — A Phoenix woman accused of driving through Farmington with two pounds of methamphetamine sewn into pillows was arrested Sunday.
Naomi Rodriguez, 31, is believed to be the main supplier of a group that traffics meth in the Four Corners, according to a Region II Narcotics Task Force press release.
Rodriguez is being charged with three counts of trafficking meth — first-degree felonies that each carry a sentence of up to 18 years in prison — possession with intent to distribute the drug and child abuse, according to the release. Her bail was set at $500,000, according to the release.
Rodriguez's 14-year-old daughter, three other teenagers and a 19-year-old woman were driving with Rodriguez in the red, four-door car when Farmington Police Cpl. David Karst stopped them before 3 p.m. at Lake Street and Broadway Avenue, according to the release.
Rodriguez's arrest follows a month-long investigation of a meth trafficking organization that operates in the Four Corners.
"Usually it's just her daughter," Region II Director Lt. Neil Haws said. "This time they decided to make a field trip out of it."
The teenager sitting in the front seat had been sleeping against the pillow that was hiding the meth, officials said. The passengers told authorities they thought Rodriguez was driving them to Durango, Colo., to check into a hotel and spend the day swimming in its pool, Haws said.
"That's how they hide these types of loads," Haws said, adding that cars packed with children or runs driven by seniors can often divert police suspicion. "They'll do whatever they can to hide those things."
He declined to release the names of the teenagers or the 19-year-old woman. And Haws released few details on the five- or six-person group — saying its members will soon be arrested. He said that one deals in southern Colorado and the rest operate from San Juan County.
Two or three times a month for about six month Rodriguez made meth deliveries into southern Colorado and the county, authorities learned from their investigation. Each time she drove a different vehicle. Sometimes she brought her daughter.
Rodriguez's meth came from major suppliers in Phoenix, and before that it came from Mexico, Haws said. He said she supplied the smaller distributors who sell the drug regionally, and she was not the main supplier.
Two pounds is a lot of meth, Haws said. Often an addict will buy a gram and sometimes they'll smoke it in a day, he said. Each gram can cost $150, he said. A pound is 450 grams.
"Sad to say in this town, two pounds is a significant amount, but there are several others who deal as much or more than she does," he said.