One of three Columbus residents accused of trafficking in heroin in Delaware County was sentenced to 18 months in prison Monday morning.
Claudia Santos-Hernandez, 28, was in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Monday for a sentencing hearing in front of Judge Everett Krueger. Santos-Hernandez changed her plea last month and pleaded guilty to two counts of trafficking in drugs, which are third-degree felonies.
As part of a plea agreement, both county assistant prosecutor Brian Walter and Santos-Hernandez’ attorney, Thomas Waldeck, recommended that Krueger sentence Santos-Hernandez to 18 months in prison.
One of the other defendants in the case, Tomas Martinez-Lopez, 20, entered a plea of guilty to two counts of trafficking in drugs — one a second-degree felony, the other a fourth-degree felony — on Aug. 3, a day before his trial was scheduled to start.
Krueger ordered a pre-sentence investigation and said Martinez-Lopez could face between six months and 18 months for one charge and between two years and eight years for the second charge.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 14 at 9 a.m.
The final defendant in the case, Anselmo Magallanez-Robles, 26, will be changing his plea from “not guilty” to “guilty” Wednesday, court documents indicate. Magallanez-Robles currently faces a charge of trafficking in drugs, which is a first-degree felony; a charge of possession of drugs, a first-degree felony; four counts of trafficking in drugs, fourth-degree felonies; and a charge of trafficking in drugs, a second-degree felony.
Martinez-Lopez and Magallanez-Robles were being held in the Delaware County Jail Tuesday afternoon, awaiting their next court apperances. Santos-Hernandez was in the jail, waiting to be transported to prison.
Walter said the trio was arrested April 22 when Delaware County Drug Task Force units and Dublin police executed a search warrant at an address on Valley Ridge in Columbus. Walter said none of the three are U.S. citizens and do not have Social Security numbers.
Walter added that investigators spoke to Magallanez-Robles on several occasions to arrange drug deals and said that Magallanez-Robles appeared at one of the transactions. Martinez-Lopez was reportedly at the other four drug deals. Walter said investigators were able to purchase more than 150 balloons of heroin — close to eight grams — during one of the drug deals.
The deals occurred in a parking lot adjacent to the Best Buy store at Polaris in Delaware County, prosecutors said.
During the search of the Valley Ridge residence, Dublin police said they seized more than 155 grams of heroin and more than $7,000 in cash. Walter added that when Santos-Hernandez was arrested, her arms were covered in baby oil, which Walter said is part of a process that drug traffickers use to help package heroin.
Dublin police reported they also discovered packing materials used to distribute heroin in a hidden compartment in the kitchen of the apartment. Dublin police noted in their report that Magallanez-Robles attempted to break a cellphone and swallowed a balloon containing heroin before he was arrested.