A Tucson woman wanted out of the Willcox Justice Court on a 2015 warrant is in federal pretrial detention after two packages of fentanyl were removed from her vagina following an inspection stop at the U.S. Border Patrol Interstate 19 checkpoint near Amado earlier this month.
Patricia A. Guzman was arrested July 1 after she was taken to a Tucson hospital when a USBP agent discovered “an abnormal bulge in Guzman’s groin area and also saw a section of black tape protruding from Guzman’s vaginal cavity,” according to the criminal complaint signed by Agent Pedro Leon. “An x-ray was conducted and revealed two foreign objects in her vaginal cavity.”
Guzman, a 40-year-old United States citizen, later removed the two packages in a hospital room. Both packages tested positive for fentanyl, a synthetic drug 50 to 100 time more potent than morphine and heroin.
On July 16, Guzman was put on notice by the U.S. Attorney’s Office that all except a “representative sample” of the 57.2 grams of fentanyl seized in the case will be destroyed Sept. 2 at the end of a mandated 60-day preservation period. The notice further advises Guzman’s attorney, Jamiel Allen of the Federal Public Defenders Office in Tucson, that a motion must be filed no later than two weeks prior to the destruction date if the defense “desires to reweigh, retest or analyze the contraband.”
- S. Marshals took custody of Guzman following her release from the hospital. She participated in a one-hour detention hearing on July 10 at which Magistrate Judge Lynnette Kimmins ordered Guzman to remain in pretrial custody at least until her outstanding warrant in Willcox on drug charges filed in 2014 is resolved.
Justice of the Peace Trevor Ward has been made aware of Guzman’s arrest, but as of Monday the court’s public access website does not list a new court date in that case.
In the meantime, Kimmins advised Guzman’s attorney to file a motion to have his client screened for placement in a treatment facility.
According to Leon’s criminal complaint, Guzman was a passenger in a gold Cadillac that entered the USBP’s checkpoint near Amado shortly before 6 p.m. on July 1. The driver, who is not identified, consented to a search of the Cadillac’s trunk before the vehicle was sent to a secondary inspection lane.
That is when Guzman was subjected to a body pat-down which led to the discovery of the bulge. The complaint makes no mention of whether the driver of the Cadillac was questioned or arrested.
Fentanyl has been labeled by the U.S. Department of Justice as “a preeminent health threat” because of its potency. The National Institutes of Health reports the drug poses a more significant risk to emergency responders and public safety officers than any other illicit drug, in part because it is often processed into a very fine powder which can be easily -and unknowingly- inhaled.