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Drug-dealing mom sentenced to prison


A Gresham woman will spend more than five years in prison for heroin trafficking and food stamp fraud.

U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez has sentenced Maria Gonzalez-Torres, 31, to 63 months in prison, said Sue Rutledge, with the Department of Justice.

Portland Police arrested Gonzalez-Torres at her apartment at East Burnside Road and 179th Avenue on Nov. 29, 2011, after investigating a tip about a husband-wife team selling large quantities of heroin.

The woman would field phoned-in heroin orders that she and her husband would then deliver throughout the Portland-metro area — often with their baby and two other children, ages 4 and 7.

Undercover police arranged to buy heroin from the couple. Gonzalez-Torres answered the phone, made the deal and indicated they would deliver the heroin soon. Surveillance officers saw the husband-wife team leave their apartment. She got into a car carrying a baby in a car seat and followed her husband who was driving another car along with the two older children.

Police pulled over the woman as she was en route to the agreed-upon delivery location. An officer found 5 ounces of heroin hidden in the woman’s bra and more than $300 in her diaper bag.

At her home, officers seized $84,000 stashed all over the home, nearly 1 pound of heroin hidden in a diaper trashcan and a loaded semi-automatic weapon in a hall closet.

Gonzalez-Torres told police she was part of her husband’s heroin business and hadn’t had a legitimate job in four years. She also said they saved the cash that police found to build a home in Mexico. Her husband is scheduled to be sentenced in April.

The drug proceeds were forfeited to the United States government, which provided funds that paid for the $1,100 a month in federal benefits, including food stamps, that the family was receiving, Rutledge said.

The couple’s four children also are in foster homes, said Gene Evans, communications director for the state’s Department of Human Services.