Drug investigation leads to charges against two women

Theresa May Gaffaney,Crystal Caroline Mendoza
Theresa May Gaffaney,Crystal Caroline Mendoza

One woman faces charges and another has charges pending in Pennington County District Court after they allegedly possessed methamphetamine in their respective homes in the same Thief River Falls duplex.

Theresa May Gaffaney, 43, has been charged with felony methamphetamine crimes involving children.

Crystal Caroline Mendoza, 35, has charges pending for fifth-degree possession of drugs and storing meth waste in the presence of minor children.

They were arrested after search warrants were executed at their respective homes Thursday, Sept. 21.

The charges stemmed from a drug investigation Wednesday, Sept. 20 by the Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force and Thief River Falls Police Department. They were investigating alleged drug activity at the women’s house, Gaffaney lives upstairs while Mendoza lives downstairs. A police officer was conducting surveillance when he allegedly observed short-term traffic, which is usually indicative of the use and sale of illegal drugs.

The next day, the PTPDTF collected garbage bags that had been placed outside of the house for garbage pick-up. In one bag, they found a Vehicle Services Division label with Mendoza’s name and address. The bag also allegedly contained a clear gram-type baggie containing meth residue. In the second bag, they found discarded mail featuring Gaffaney’s name and address. The bag also contained gram-style drug baggies containing powdery residue. One of the baggies tested positive for meth residue.

Gaffaney complaint Prior to executing a search warrant at Gaffaney’s home, law enforcement knew her son was living at the home. The boy, around age 6, and his sister, age 19, were there when the search warrant was executed. Gaffaney was also present.

In Gaffaney’s bedroom, law enforcement allegedly found a glass baking pan, a drug pipe, a broken glass pipe, a rubber hose, and a wooden box with several small baggies. The first three items allegedly contained residue. The residue in both the pan and unbroken drug pipe tested positive for meth. One baggie contained residue that tested positive for meth. All were found in an unlocked cubby accessible with a stepstool located in the same room.

The complaint noted that the boy would have been able to access the items. Gaffaney allegedly admitted the items belonged to her. She admitted smoking meth prior to her son coming home that day.

The complaint indicated that Gaffaney was out of jail on conditions of release at the time. She is awaiting sentencing for a case in which she allegedly possessed meth.

Mendoza’s pending charge The complaint against Mendoza hadn’t been filed in court as of presstime Tuesday morning. She allegedly possessed meth. The complaint against Gaffaney noted law enforcement knew Mendoza had a child living at her home who was about 17 years old.

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