The Smoking Gun website has a brief blurb about a wheelchair-bound lady who was one of the main heroin dealers for a Florida gang!
Sweet 74-year-old Ruth Perez-Lopez was the largest heroin dealer for a local drug ring known for selling cocaine, prescription pills and marijuana. According to the police, the lady sold her drugs in a fortified Orlando-area house featuring reinforced doors, high tech security and plenty of firearms.
Ms. Perez-Lopez was arrested after the culmination of a year-long state and federal operation. The name? Operation “Deals on Wheels” of course!
Perez-Lopez was arrested for heroin trafficking and conspiracy, both of which are felonies. As of this writing she is being held in the Orange County lockup in lieu of $650,000 bond.
Police are estimating that Ruth sold two kilos of heroin per month out of the Orlando home she shared with two co-defendants.
As mentioned before, drug trafficking carries with it a “minimum mandatory” prison sentence. This depends on the amount of the illegal narcotics but the minimum mandatory sentence ranges between three and 25 years in prison. A “minimum mandatory” means NO parole, time off for good behavior or good gain time. It means the prison sentence is served straight in prison.
With minimum mandatory sentences, even the judge has no power to go below them. Only an agreed upon departure with the state attorney can reduce this sentence. Many times the state attorney will agree to “depart” or go below the sentencing guidelines. There are multiple reasons why the state may choose to depart. These reasons include the defendant cooperating with the police or state, mental health issues, drug addiction, victim requests, etc.
In this case, a possible departure from the mandatory sentence may involve the suspect’s age. A 74-year-old facing 25 years in prison is basically looking at a life sentence. Depending on the defendant’s prior criminal history, reasons for selling drugs and possible cooperation with the police, the state attorney may agree to reduce her prison sentence considerably. Continue reading