FRAMINGHAM (CBS) — A driver accused of selling heroin from her special needs school van was arraigned in Framingham District Court Monday.
Rudencia Montes, 43, is charged with distributing heroin, conspiracy to violate the state’s drug laws, and a parking zone violation. She was ordered held on $5,000.
Montes was a driver for the Accept Education Collaborative in Natick, driving a small bus for two special needs children.
But instead of those children, it was her boyfriend, Jose Gonzalez-Viscaino, 33, who was in the van Friday morning when a detail officer noticed it pulling into a parking lot at Cushing Memorial Park.
That officer noticed a second car pull up nearby, and said he saw Gonzalez-Viscaino get out and complete a drug deal with the person in the other vehicle, later identified as Corrine Gentile, 33.
Montes was arrested along with Gonzalez-Viscaino–who gave police a fake ID with the name Juan Miranda-Ortiz. Viscaino faces the same charges.
Montes said Gonzalez-Viscayano was the dealer. She told police she knew he was selling drugs, but that she didn’t care, supporting him out of love.
“She communicated additionally, quote, ‘I don’t benefit from it, I just do it because I love him,'” Krasinski said in court.
Identical envelopes containing heroin were found in Gentile’s car and the school van.
“The officer approached Gentile and asked what she received from the man,” Krasinski said. “She said nothing. She was hiding something in her hands, eventually pulled her hand out and there was heroin.”
Gonzalez-Viscaino’s bail was set at $25,000. Gentile posted bond at $200 and left the courtroom without comment–then later ran away from media.
Montes’ lawyer argued unsuccessfully to set bail at just $500, noting she no longer has a job–she was fired hours after her arrest Friday.
In a statement, Accept Collaborative spokesperson Marcia Berkowitz said no students were present or involved, and that the company notified the parents of the students Montes drove.
“The well-being of our students is paramount, and we will continue to take all steps needed to provide them with safe and effective transportation to and from school,” Berkowitz wrote.
So Montes remains locked up with her boyfriend.
“How would anyone be feeling if they’re in custody under very high bail, which was inappropriate in this situation?” defense attorney Sheila Dywer said outside court.
Massachusetts requires drug testing for school bus drivers, but not school van operators.
There is a bill in the state senate looking to change that. It is sponsored by State Senator Anne Gobi who represents Worcester, Hampton, Hampshire and Middlesex counties.
Both Montes and Viscaino were ordered to stay away from Cushing Park and are due back in court on December 13th.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kendall Buhl reports