A woman who hid heroin around her waist and pretended to be pregnant pleaded guilty in federal court to drug trafficking.
Perla E. Murillo, 18, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth to possessing heroin with the intent to distribute.
Law enforcement officers were conducting interdiction activities at a local bus station on Nov. 27, 2018. Murillo got off a bus traveling from Denver, Colorado, to New York. Detectives contacted Murillo, who appeared very nervous and looked down at her belly when detectives explained they were looking for illegal narcotics. Upon closer inspection, her belly appeared to be somewhat lumpy or out of shape.
Murillo agreed to be searched and unzipped her maroon jacket. Detectives observed a pink maternity shirt with abnormal lumps and could see what appeared to be pillow stuffing between her pink maternity shirt and a sweatshirt. At that point, Murillo’s eyes began to well up with tears. Detectives looked into the gap between the pink maternity shirt and the sweatshirt and observed two bundles wrapped in grey and red duct tape behind some stuffing. Detectives immediately recognized the bundles to be a common method of transporting large amounts of narcotics.
After Murillo was detained, she removed three bundles that were wrapped to her body with a gauze-type material. The bundles contained a total of approximately 1.9 kilograms (more than four pounds) of heroin. Murillo also told investigators she had been paid $1,000 to transport four similarly-sized bundles of heroin to New York earlier that month.
Under federal statutes, Murillo is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 40 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ashleigh A. Ragner and Trey Alford. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Missouri Western Interdiction Narcotics Task Force (MoWIN).