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Press Release

Heroin Dealer Connected to the Overdose Death of a Young Woman in Farmers Branch, Texas, is Arrested on Federal Drug Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas
Dealer Allegedly Knew Victim and Had Sold Heroin to Her on a Regular Basis

DALLAS — Nancy Pineda, 27, of Farmers Branch, Texas, remains in federal custody today following her arrest late Friday evening by investigators with the Farmers Branch Police Department and special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration on a federal criminal complaint stemming from her selling the heroin that caused a young woman’s overdose death at a McDonald’s restaurant in Farmers Branch in June 2016.  The announcement was made today by U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

“This is yet another tragic example of a young life cut short by heroin,” said U.S. Attorney Parker.  “You have my word that every time someone dies from a drug overdose in this district, my office will do everything in our power, working with our law enforcement partners, to identify and prosecute those who sold the drugs.  We’re going to hit this problem, and we’re going to hit it hard.” 

Specifically, the complaint charges Pineda with conspiracy to distribute heroin.  Pineda made her initial appearance in federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma C. Ramirez, who ordered that she remain in custody pending a detention hearing set for Thursday, November 3, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.

According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, on June 8, 2016, at approximately 9:43 p.m., a female victim was found dead in the bathroom of a McDonald’s restaurant located on Valley View Lane in Farmers Branch.  Based on observations of the scene, law enforcement suspected the victim’s death was the result of a heroin overdose.  This was confirmed by the Office of the Medical Investigator that determined the victim’s cause of death was due to the toxic effects of heroin and ethanol.

The investigation revealed that on June 8, 2016, at 7:00 p.m., the victim negotiated, in text messages, to buy a “dub” and a “point” from an individual, later identified as “A.J.”  A “dub” is slang for .20 grams of narcotics, and a “point” is slang for a syringe.  The text conversation concluded at 7:45 p.m. when the victim texted, “we down the street.” 

A search warrant of A.J.’s cell phone revealed text conversations between A.J. and an individual listed in his phone as “Nina,” who was later identified as defendant Nancy Pineda, a known heroin dealer with whom law enforcement was familiar because of previous narcotics investigations.

The text conversations between Pineda and A.J. began on June 8, 2016, at 7:08 p.m. and concluded at 7:25 p.m.  During the text conversation, A.J. negotiated with Pineda to obtain a “piece” at Taqueria El Paisano on Lombardy Drive in Dallas.  “Piece” is slang for narcotics.  A.J. then used the victim’s phone to text Pineda at 7:59 p.m. to advise her they were almost at Paisano’s.

The investigation further revealed that A.J. and the victim drove together to Paisano’s to meet Pineda.  Surveillance video showed A.J. exiting the car and talking on the phone.  A.J. then handed the telephone to the victim and ran to a nearby Sonic restaurant.  At approximately 8:13 p.m., A.J. walked up to a silver Ford sedan parked at the Sonic restaurant and made a hand-to-hand transaction with the front seat passenger, Pineda, and then walked away.  A few minutes later, A.J. returned to the car at Paisano’s, and he and the victim departed.  A.J. purchased the heroin directly from Pineda at the Sonic restaurant and gave it to the victim immediately afterwards. 

Law enforcement confirmed that Pineda knew the victim and had sold heroin to her on a regular basis in the past.

A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offense charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge.  A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.  The U.S. Attorney’s office has 30 days to present the matter to a federal grand jury for indictment.  The statutory maximum penalty for the charged offense is 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine.

The Farmers Branch Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration are investigating the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Myria Boehm is in charge of the prosecution.

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Updated October 31, 2016

Drug Trafficking