Women in heroin-under-the-baby case plead guilty

Oct 3 2012 - 8:20pm

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Marta Rubelcaba
Cynthia Lopez-Garnica
Marta Rubelcaba
Cynthia Lopez-Garnica

OGDEN -- Both women caught trying the hide-the-heroin-under-the-baby gambit have pleaded guilty to charges.

Marta Rubelcaba, 42, of West Valley City, and Cynthia Lopez-Garnica, 28, of Salt Lake City, were each charged with second-degree felony drug distribution after their arrest Aug. 10 by the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force.

The strike force was following the pair from Salt Lake City on a tip that the two were delivering heroin to Ogden. When the car stopped in Bountiful, agents moved in and made the arrest out of concern the women had spotted the surveillance.

Agents found 38 grams of heroin in small balloons hidden under the 3-month-old baby in its car seat, according to charging documents.

The drugs were estimated to have a $4,000 street value.

Strike Force Commander Troy Burnett said Wednesday the parents of the child in Salt Lake City and other relatives have been cleared of any involvement.

Rubelcaba, the baby's aunt, just took the child for the drug run while baby-sitting, unbeknownst to other family members, he said.

Rubelcaba was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison by 2nd District Judge Mark DeCaria.

She had pleaded guilty last month to a second-degree felony charge of possession with intent to distribute.

In announcing the sentence Monday, the judge suspended the prison term and ordered Rubelcaba turned over to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement division for deportation to her native Mexico.

The same day, Lopez-Garnica pleaded guilty to the same charge, but reduced to a third-degree felony. She faces sentencing Nov. 5 before DeCaria.

Lopez-Garnica has been unable to raise bail, while Rubelcaba at one point was released on $10,000 bail.

But a no-bail warrant for her arrest was issued after she skipped an Aug. 20 hearing date. The following weekend, she was back in jail.

"She turned herself in," Burnett said. "I'm not going to speculate on why."

Police say both women have admitted to being Mexican nationals in the country illegally.

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