Suspect is accused of five charges, had two warrants for arrest

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FARMINGTON — A Hogback woman faces a drug trafficking charge after an officer said baggies and syringes full of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were found in her purse while she was being taken into custody.

Machelle Rico, 45, is accused of five charges, including a second-degree felony count of trafficking controlled substances and fourth-degree felony counts of altering or forging a driver's license and conspiracy to commit identity theft, according to court records.

Teresa Walker, Rico's public defender, did not respond to requests for comment.

Rico is accused of having four baggies and five loaded syringes of methamphetamine in her purse along with drug paraphernalia, according to court documents.

She had two warrants for her arrest including one for failing to appear on a case in Aztec district court where she is accused of 13 charges including nine felony counts of forgery, according to court records.

Rico was arrested on Feb. 28 by a Farmington Police Department officer.

The officer was dispatched to a Lowe's Home Improvement store at 5451 Piñon Hills Blvd. in Farmington around 11:31 a.m. on Feb. 28 on reports of a person with warrants for their arrest, according to the probable cause statement.

An employee told the officer she spotted Rico on the property and she arrived in a red pickup truck.

An officer spotted a woman matching Rico's description near a red truck in the parking lot.

The document said the officer ordered Rico to stop after he approached her and she started to walk away.

She is accused of providing a fake driver's license and Social Security card to the officer.

During an interview conducted later at the Farmington Police Department, Rico told police she created the phony documents.

After the officer arrested Rico, a search of her purse revealed the baggies and syringes of meth along with items including two used syringes, two glass pipes and one stack of multiple small baggies, according to court documents.

Rico has eight felony drug convictions for fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance, according to court records.

She was incarcerated at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on Monday afternoon.

Rico also made her first appearance in Aztec Magistrate Court Monday for a separate case in which she is accused of a fourth-degree felony count of forgery, according to court records.

A preliminary hearing for the drug trafficking case is set for Wednesday morning in Farmington Magistrate Court.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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