Crime

Feds: Drug dealer busted on the way to crystal meth deal in North Highlands

PHOTO: DEA via USDC EDCA

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California woman could face federal drug charges for allegedly trying to sell baggies of crystal meth in North Highlands last week.

Federal officials are seeking to charge Virginia Garcia Lopez with possession with intent to distribute a mixture containing at least 50 grams of methamphetamine.

According to court documents filed by the DEA in support of an arrest warrant, authorities were tipped off to Lopez’s status as a drug dealer by a confidential source, who said they had been purchasing crystal meth from her for several months over the phone.

On October 13th, authorities listened in to a phone call between the source and Lopez, who discussed conducting a meth deal at a later date.

“I don’t have any right now, but I will be back on Friday,” Lopez allegedly said.

“Can you do 10 on Friday, cash?” the source asked.

“Yeah,” Lopez responded.

That conversation, the DEA says, was Lopez agreeing to sell the source 10 pounds of crystal meth on Friday, October 15th.

Later that evening, Lopez allegedly called the source and said they owed her $1,800 in drug debt. Because of that, court papers say, the source modified the order from 10 pounds to 9 pounds of crystal meth and agreed to pay their drug debt.

The source told officials that Lopez drove from her home in El Sobrante to the source’s house in North Highlands to conduct deals. Lopez would text the source to come outside once she arrived. That information led agents to initiate a surveillance operation outside of the source’s home in case Lopez came to make the deal.

At around 3:23 P.M. on the same day, agents observed Lopez’s car, a grey Honda sedan with plates linked to her home, pull a U-turn and park in front of the source’s house before texting her that she had arrived. That’s when the agents moved in, they say.

A vehicle stop was conducted on Lopez, who was detained without incident before officials began searching her car. When they got to the trunk, agents recovered two tote bags, one containing six baggies of suspected crystal meth and the other containing nine. The suspected drugs found in the bags are still undergoing lab tests.

During an interview with agents, Lopez is said to have admitted to attempting to sell the source several pounds of crystal meth. She also told agents that the phone found in her car, used to text the source, belonged to her.

If convicted, Lopez faces a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, and a maximum sentence of life in prison. She was released on a $50,000 unsecured appearance bond Tuesday, and has been ordered to report to the Pretrial Services Agency.

UPDATE: Lopez has been indicted on one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime and justice as well as issues of racial inequality. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822.

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