The Drug Enforcement Agency arrested 79-year-old Lidia Alvarez and her son Domingo Alvarez for possession of more than 20 ounces of heroin last week. The drugs have an estimated street value of around $150,000 and the charges for the woman and her 54-year-old son of possession with intent to distribute carry a possible sentence of more than 40 years each.
Lidia Alvarez has been nicknamed the “Grandmother of Heroin” and her arrest is being described by DEA agents and the US Attorney in Texas as a “big achievement” because of the mother-and-son team’s long history of drug trafficking.
DEA agent Dante Sorianello told reporters that the two were in all likelihood the biggest heroin traffickers in all of Midland County in Texas.
He said that he and the rest of the Midland DEA understand fully that their arrests will simply mean that other traffickers will probably take their place. Nevertheless, the arrest is significant as it is estimated that it takes more than 8,000 dosage units of heroin off the streets, at least temporarily.
The Midland County Sheriff’s Office had been trying to take down the Alvarezes for some time to no avail. After repeated failed attempts to arrest the two, they sought the help of the DEA.
Sheriff Gary Painter also stated that his office was interested in working with the DEA because he wanted to bring federal charges against the two traffickers, which tend to carry stiffer penalties. He says the DEA was brought in when a local 19-year-old died from an overdose of heroin supplied by the Alvarezes. According to Painter, Midland County looks to pursue those who provide the drugs in question anytime an individual dies from an overdose.
Lidia Alvarez was on federal probation for a drug trafficking conviction from 2006. The investigation into the 19-year-old’s death is what led DEA and Midland Country Sherriff’s Office to the Alvarezes and ultimately what led to their arrest.