The popular image of a drug trafficker is often a tough guy with sunglasses, possibly a sharp dresser, and packing heat – someone you don’t want to mess with. It is definitely not a Mom with five school aged or younger kids running around the house and catching the bus with their backpacks and lunches in tow. But a woman in Salinas was perhaps intent on breaking that stereotype, or maybe just trying to make ends meet in a tough economy.
Whatever the case may be, The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department, working with the county Anti-Crime Team, Narcotics Taskforce, Gang Taskforce, and agents from the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency and Homeland Security had reason to suspect Norma Garcia was involved in drug trafficking, according to a Sheriff’s Department press release. The team obtained a search warrant for her home on Axford Road in east Santa Cruz, just a couple blocks from the Capitol Mall.
On Friday, January 23, investigators served the warrant at about 12:30 in the afternoon. The 31-year-old Garcia was home with two of her youngest children. Her five kids range from four to thirteen years old, and three of them were at school.
The search revealed over 125 grams of heroin, worth up to $7,000.00, along with 7 grams of methamphetamine, a loaded .22 caliber handgun, and $3,000.00 in cash. There was also evidence of identity theft located on the premises.
Records show that Ms. Garcia was arrested several times in the mid 2000’s, but nothing else recently. In December of 2005, at 22-years-old, she was charged with possession and transportation of a controlled substance for sale. That was followed in 2006 by an arrest for petty theft and possession of drug paraphernalia. That was followed by a probation violation, and then another petty theft arrest in April of 2007.
After completion of the search of her home, Garcia was booked at the Santa Cruz County Jail on charges of sales of a controlled substance, being a felon in possession of a firearm, identity theft, and child endangerment. All five of her children were turned over to Children’s Protective Services. A copy of her arrest report lists her occupation only as “Full Time” – most likely the word “Mother” was cut off, but you never know…