A New Mexico mother accused of hiding fentanyl in her children’s luggage before putting them on a flight to visit their father in Dallas, Texas, has been charged with a federal drug crime.

Magdalena Silva Banuelos, 46, was indicted on charges of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham announced Tuesday in a news release.

On Nov. 17, at a detention hearing in New Mexico, prosecutors accused Banuelos of providing a fatal dose of fentanyl to her boyfriend, who was also the father of her young sons. The couple was said to be in an on-again, off-again relationship.

On May 31, Banuelos allegedly boarded her 8- and 10-year-old sons on a flight to Dallas Love Field Airport, where their father would pick them up.

After greeting the boys at the gate, the father “rifled through their luggage” before going into an airport restroom at about 10:26 p.m., surveillance video showed.

“A few minutes later, he overdosed and died in a restroom stall, just steps away from his sons,” the release said.

A makeup container was discovered inside the stall with more than a gram of fentanyl inside it, according to a joint investigation by Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division and Dallas Police Department.

Prosecutors argued that Banuelos allegedly “used her minor children to mule drugs” to her boyfriend.

Incriminating Text Messages

Text messages were also recovered between Banuelos and the victim suggesting he planned on taking the drug.

“Hey, you need to be careful,” Banuelos wrote to her boyfriend a few hours before he died.

“Yes ma’am. Very slow and easy,” he replied.

“Just one and then wait you’ll see,” she wrote. “Just one.”

“Ok cool. Thank you. Will do,” he responded.

U.S. Attorney Meacham said: “I feel for these children. To lose one parent due to the actions of the other is a calamity for a child.”

“This defendant allegedly concealed fentanyl – a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin – in her own minor sons’ luggage. This drug has stolen too many futures and ruined too many lives. The Justice Department remains determined to hold accountable those who spread it,” he continued.

Acting Special Agent in Charge W. Guy Baker of the DEA Dallas Field Division said the case is another example of the devastation that fentanyl reaps among families throughout the country.

“The DEA will continue to work side-by-side with our state and local partners in investigating drug-related poisonings and overdose deaths to hold those accountable for their actions,” Baker said.

Banuelos is being held in jail pending her trial. If convicted, she faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years up to life in federal prison.


Jana is an award-winning investigative journalist. She lives in Texas with her husband and enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren.

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