A Man Has Been Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison After Being Caught With 14 Meth Burritos
There are days when the thought of stuffing your face with a burrito can bring so much happiness into our lives. However, when authorities found 14 foil-wrapped burrito-shaped packages in Ricardo Renteria’s SUV in 2018, they weren’t so pleased. They weren’t filled with beans or cheese. Instead, Los Angeles police found the “burritos” filled with one key ingredient: about a pound each of methamphetamine. Renteria, 48, of Colton, California was sentenced on Monday to 15 years in federal prison for carrying more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine in his car.
People are stunned how this bait and switch “burritos” was pulled off.
Back on Feb. 3, 2018, Renteria was pulled over in the Angelino Heights neighborhood by Los Angeles Police officers after multiple witnesses reported a white Chevrolet Tahoe driving erratically. When police asked for his license, Renteria didn’t have it on him and was then allowed to search for his registration and insurance. While he couldn’t provide the correct paperwork, police determined the vehicle was registered to Renteria legally but found that his license was expired. That’s when Renteria let police search the vehicle. They would soon find a black garbage bag filled with 14 “foil-wrapped, burrito shaped” packages.
Authorities said that Renteria is a member of a neighborhood LA street gang and goes by the nickname “Flaco.” According to the Los Angeles Times, Renteria’s car was subsequently impounded after the arrest. During a later search of the vehicle, a fully loaded handgun was recovered from a secret compartment on the driver’s side door and more than $800 in cash.
“He has a very long criminal history,” Chief U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips said during the trial. “This was a large amount of methamphetamine — and the way it was packaged, it was clearly for sale.”
According to police, the street value of the methamphetamine ranged from $27,000 to $40,000.
During his one-day trial in March, Renteria was found guilty of possessing meth with intent to distribute, possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and being a felon with a firearm, according to prosecutors.
During his sentencing hearing, Renteria asked Judge Phillips to “take into consideration (that) I have a family waiting for me — and I apologize for the situation I find myself in.”
Judge Phillips rejected the notion and said that a significant prison sentence was needed “to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant.” There was also a recommendation that Renteria undergoes a mental and physical health examination while serving time in prison.
“He wasn’t trying to sell a pound of meth disguised as burritos or trick anyone into thinking they’re real,” Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesman with the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Central District of California, told the News Observer. “But he was probably hoping to avoid detection this way.”
Police are familiar with this tactic and have previously seen creative ways that criminals try to disguise various drugs in the form of food.
“Narcotics dealers go to great lengths to conceal whatever narcotics it is they’re trying to move from one location to another,” Meghan Aguilar, a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman told the Washington Post. “Soda cans, books cut out in the middle. Only the imagination limits how far drug dealers will go.”
This isn’t the first time we hear about someone trying to smuggle drugs in the form of a burrito.
Just last week, a Colorado corrections officer tried to smuggle a drug-filled burrito into the Buena Vista Correctional Facility. Trevor Martineau filled the “burrito” with meth, heroin, marijuana, and painkillers and now faces a variety of felony charges. He’s also lost his job with the state. According to the Daily Mail, Martineau told investigators that he had drugs inside his lunchbox when he got to the correctional facility.
There is clearly a growing trend when it comes to hiding drugs in burrito shaped wrapping. This can only make us wonder what’s the next food item that people will be stashing away paraphernalia in. We just hope they leave tacos out of this.