Arizona woman arrested, accused of laundering money for prison inmates

Authorities have arrested a Tolleson woman who is accused of money laundering and other felony offenses.

The woman, identified as Gabriella Trujillo, was arrested on Feb. 3. FOX 10's Justin Lum visited the area where Trujillo lives on the afternoon of Feb. 4. Off-camera, Trujillo's neighbors say the woman, a 43-year-old mother of two, is a sweet lady.

However, detectives with the Arizona Department of Public Safety say Trujillo placed big money onto the books of dozens of inmates, and the source of the funding is believed to be drug-related.

DPS served a search warrant at Trujillo's Tolleson apartment, located near 95th Avenue and Van Buren, on the morning of Feb. 3. Authorities say they found a package of heroin, wrapped in cellophane, as well as $13,000 tucked away in envelopes.

Investigators believe Trujillo is linked to a criminal enterprise. Court documents say she's been communicating with inmate Leodan Martinez, who is housed at the Lewis State Prison. Trujillo allegedly put money on the books of Martinez and 60 other inmates. making more than 300 deposits. Investigators also say prison emails reveal a large number of prisoners asking family and friends to send money to Trujillo.

According to DPS officials, Trujillo received more than $6,000 from known associates of inmates between April and October of 2020. Investigators believe convicts will use family members and friends to do drug deals on their behalf, or smuggle drugs into prisons. The alleged scheme involves depositing profits into the accounts of various inmates to hide any large amounts.

Now Trujillo is accused of a number of offenses, including money laundering, drug possession for sale, and conspiracy to take contraband into a correctional facility. She is in jail, and a bond has been set at $5,000.

FOX 10 has reached out to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry for comment, but department officials have declined the requests.

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