Meet Ruth Perez-Lopez, a 74-year-old wheelchair bound grandmother, who was arrested when DEA agents took down a large heroin ring in Florida. The government agents, along with officers from the Orlando Police department and Orange County Sheriff’s Office raided a home in Orange County several days ago, and arrested 10 people, including the elderly woman.
They are suspected of organizing a heroin ring that was making anywhere between $250,000 and $300,000 per month by selling up to two kilos of heroin on the local streets. Besides a lot of drugs, the officers also seized quite a bit of cash and multiple unregistered guns.
Jeff Walsh, an assistant special agent who heads the DEA’s Central Florida district believes that Ruth played a significant role in the operation, despite her innocent and unsuspecting looks. “She’s an elderly lady and I’m sure if you met her she would seem very nice and all, but she was in a house with loaded weapons,” he said during a news conference.
This wouldn’t be the first time a crime ring uses someone in a wheelchair for their benefit. They typically use unsuspecting elderly people in wheelchairs as mules, when they need to bring guns, drugs or any other illegal items into a certain venue. Security and police rarely suspects wheelchair-bound people and they often can’t be checked too thoroughly.
Most of the dealers who were arrested in Orange County were convicted felons who had already been in prison for drug trafficking, and one of the men spent 12 years in prison on murder charges. Ruth, however, never had any run-ins with the law. Besides heroin, this crime ring also sold cocaine, marijuana and prescription pills.
The DEA and local forces said they had been investigating this crime group for almost a year, before they finally obtained enough evidence on every member and made the arrests.