Couple may face deportation; fate of children undetermined
By James Tilson
MANTI—A Mt. Pleasant couple who pleaded guilty to selling illegal drugs from their trailer home in the presence of their four children were sentenced to jail time and probation, although it is likely at least one will be deported before their sentences are complete.
The other may be permitted to remain in the country to care for the children, who are all U.S. citizens.
Alejandro Rodriguez Manzo, 40, and his wife Amanda Carrasco, 37, were both found guilty of distribution of a controlled substance between December 2018 and January 2019.
Manzo pleaded guilty to three second-degree felonies and one third-degree felony, while Carrasco pleaded to four third-degree felonies.
The difference, as explained by Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels, was that Manzowas much more involved in the criminal scheme than Carrasco.
“[Manzo] was a predator—he had a gun, he used his children to facilitate the crimes and he used his crimes as a business,” the county attorney said.
Manzo addressed Judge Bagley, and expressed his remorse over what he had done. “I made a mistake and I wish to repair it,” he said. “I love my children, like any parent.”
Judge Bagley went along with Daniels’ recommendation and sentenced Manzo to 180 days in jail, along with 36 months of probation.
Since Manzo is in the United States illegally, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency is likely to pick up Manzo before the end of his sentence, officials involved with the case said.
Daniels only recommended 90 days in jail along with probation for Carrasco, saying she was less involved in the crimes than her husband.
Carrasco also told Judge Bagley she was sorry for what she had done. “I want another opportunity to be with my children,” she said.
Judge Bagley agreed with the 90 days in jail for Carrasco, saying she was involved in serious crimes, and illegally in the United States as well. However, Bagley told her, “You look 100 percent better today than when I first saw you. When you first came here, you looked like a drug user. Today, you look like a mother.”
Since Carrasco is also in the United States illegally, she probably will also be picked up by ICE for deportation. Manzo and Carrasco’s children were placed in foster care when their parents were arrested in March, but according to sources, are now with relatives.
According to government sources, typically in cases like these the children will be placed with relatives whenever possible. If the children are U.S. citizens, when the case comes before the immigration court, one parent is likely to be given an exception to deportation and be allowed to stay in the United States with the children.
Manzo and Carrasco were arrested on March 13 after being recorded by the Sanpete County Major Crimes Task Force making “controlled buys” over two months.
The couple sold illegal drugs out of their travel trailer residence on Gravel Pit Road, just north of Mt. Pleasant. They sold methamphetamine and heroin, using their children as drug couriers.