Crime

Mom admits trafficking 15.9 kilos of cocaine with kids in SUV

Judith Noriega Hernandez
Judith Noriega Hernandez

GULFPORT -- A Texas woman found traveling with 15.9 kilos of cocaine and her two children unrestrained in her SUV has admitted her involvement in cocaine trafficking.

Judith Noriega Hernandez, 32, faces 10 years to life in prison.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden will sentence her Sept. 15.

She pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

She and her husband, Ramiro Hernandez, 36, were pulled over March 19. A Mississippi state trooper reported he saw two children unrestrained in the back seat of a Chevrolet Suburban 1500 on Interstate 10 in Jackson County.

The wife had an expired driver's license and her husband was on probation for trafficking 207 kilos of marijuana, a state trooper assigned to a Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force said in an affidavit.

The trooper called in a Pascagoula police K-9 team. The dog alerted on the rear of the SUV, where the trooper found a package of cocaine in the overhead liner.

The couple at first denied knowing about the cocaine, but the husband said it belonged to his wife, the document said.

The state Department of Human Services took their children into protective custody.

Hernandez and her husband have been held with no bond.

Ramiro Hernandez is set for trial July 5. He faces prosecution on a conspiracy charge and one count each of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and interstate and foreign travel in aid of drug racketeering enterprises.

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