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Marijuana mailed to inmate

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Alleged sender facing felonies

By Martin Salazar

The Region IV Narcotics Task Force made two marijuana-related arrests recently, one a woman who allegedly mailed pot to an inmate at the county jail and the second a New Mexico Highlands University student accused of selling the drug out of his dorm room.

Melissa “Fierce” Martinez, 33, who, according to court documents, resides on Maple Drive, was arrested Oct. 31 and is charged with six fourth-degree felonies: distribution of marijuana, bringing contraband into jail, conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, conspiracy to bring contraband into a jail, forgery and identity theft.

Gaudensio “Angel” Aria, 18, who moved to Las Vegas from California to attend Highlands, was arrested last Friday. Aria, who resides at Archuleta Hall, is charged with one count of distribution of marijuana, a third-degree felony.

The arrest warrant affidavit in the Martinez case states that someone mailed suspected marijuana to a male inmate who has been locked up at the San Miguel County Detention Center since June. The return address on the letter was hand written and contained the name of local attorney Arthur Bustos.

Jail staff became suspicious because an odor of marijuana was emanating from it and because attorneys typically don’t handwrite their name and addresses on envelopes.

Bustos told authorities the envelope didn’t come from his office.

The suspicious envelope was opened, and jail staff found letters printed off the internet and two clear plastic baggies containing suspected marijuana.

According to the affidavit, the Region IV Narcotics Task Force pulled recorded jail calls between the inmate, Apolinario Arturo Gonzales, and Martinez.

“During the conversations from Apolinario to Melissa, your affiant heard Apolinario ask Melissa to meet a ‘Celesete’ at Burger King to get something from her,” the court document sates. “He further mentions the name ‘Denise’ and asks Ms. Martinez to contact her as well.”

Police say that in the envelope seized by jail staff, one of the packages of marijuana contained a hand-written label with “Denise 2.2 gms.”

Authorities say there are also recorded conversations of Gonzales and Martinez in which Gonzales asks Martinez whether she had taped pictures back to back. Located in the envelope was the suspected marijuana taped to a picture of a transformer.

The case against the Highlands student, meanwhile, involved an undercover drug buy, according to court documents.

Arrangements were made to buy the marijuana from Aria on the Highlands campus, which is a drug free school zone. An undercover officer met with Aria and purchased marijuana from him, the court document states.

Police obtained a warrant to search Aria’s dorm room and located a glass jar of suspected marijuana and a scale. The officer conducted a field test on the substance, and it came back positive for marijuana.

Besides charging Aria with distribution of marijuana, authorities charged him with possession of drug paraphernalia.