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Mother Remains in Custody Over Heroin Deal


A woman who brought her 2-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter along while she delivered $1-million worth of heroin to her boyfriend at a Pacoima bar remained in custody Wednesday, authorities said.

Esther Hernandez, 32, of Pacoima was arrested Monday by U. S. Drug Enforcement Agency officers after she dropped off a kilogram of "black tar" heroin to Abraham Arrizon, 53, who tried to sell it to undercover agents, said Ralph Lochridge, spokesman for the agency.

Hernandez's children were taken to the homes of relatives.

Federal agents believe that Arrizon, who was carrying a loaded .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun, was the head of a major heroin distributing operation that used El Bar on the 10200 block of San Fernando Road as its base of operations.

"For him to be able to come up with that much heroin, he is certainly one of the significant distributors in the San Fernando Valley," Lochridge said.

Also arrested was Victor Chavez, 34, who worked as a bartender at El Bar.

On Monday, undercover agents watched Hernandez walk into the bar with the bag of heroin in one hand and her 2-year-old in the other, Lochridge said.

"What was unusual was that in Mexican heroin trafficking, you rarely see women because it's a pretty macho, male-oriented business," Lochridge said. "What was even more startling was the kids."

After the agents agreed to buy $100,000 worth of heroin, nine agents rushed into the bar and made the arrests, Lochridge said.

The heroin was 60% pure, Lochridge said, while most street heroin is about 35% pure.

"We are definitely seeing a surge in black tar heroin activity," Lochridge said. "More is being brought into the country. More people are using it." The substance is a thick, dark, congealed form of the drug, produced in Mexico and sold primarily to Latinos.

Hernandez is in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in lieu of $25,000 bond. Arrizon and Chavez are being held without bail.

The three face charges of possession with intent to distribute heroin. If convicted of the charges, the federal mandatory minimum sentence is 10 years, Lochridge said.

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