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Mother Of Woman Accused Of Smuggling Drugs Speaks To ABC-7

Esther Lopez told ABC-7 her daughter, Candace Holmes, 20, started working at the Southern New Mexico Corrections Facility in March 2012.

“Ever since she was a little girl, she’s wanted to be in law enforcement,” Lopez said.

Lopez said her daughter always worked hard to get closer to her dream of being a U.S. marshal one day. Now, Holmes is on the other end of the spectrum: behind bars and charged with six felony counts after police said she tried to smuggle a balloon filled with heroin and cocaine into the prison.

Lopez said this is one mistake she never expected Holmes to make.

“I asked her, ‘Do you even realize what you have put us through?’ And she said, ‘At the time I wasn’t thinking, mom.’ She feels remorse for what she did. What she did was very wrong, and she realizes that,” Lopez said.

Lopez feels her daughter’s case has endangered her entire family, and she did not know how to react when she found out her daughter had been arrested.

“It was like my whole world ended. I was devastated. I did not know what to think. It was like my entire life had turned into darkness,” Lopez said.

Lopez told ABC-7 she thinks her daughter was easily manipulated because she is young and had a strict, religious childhood.

“We were very limited to the things we could and could not do. We weren’t even allowed to have a television in our home. We weren’t allowed to have friends outside of the church, and I feel that as she grew older, she wanted her independence, and she messed up. I kept telling her not to get mixed up with anybody in there,” Lopez said.

Police said Holmes was taking the drugs to inmate Frank Morales Jr., 31, who she is romantically involved with and referred to as her fianc.

Lopez said she had no idea about her daughter’s relationship with Morales and feels he’s to blame for this mess.

“I feel that inmates in the correction facility have 24 hours a day. They have nothing better to do than to see how they (can) scam a person, how they can con a person into doing things,” said Lopez. “This guy is 31 years old. He’s 11 years older than she is. He had every chance in the prison to manipulate her. This lowlife talked her into doing something that ruined her life. Do you think he feels sorry for it? No. He just keeps on going.”

Lopez said no matter how her daughter’s case ends, she will support her.

Holmes is charged with six felony counts: trafficking cocaine by possessing it with the intent to distribute, trafficking heroin by possessing it with the intent to distribute, conspiracy to traffic cocaine, conspiracy to traffic heroin, and two counts of bringing contraband into a prison facility. If convicted, she could face up to 13 years in prison. She is currently being held at the Doa Ana County Detention Center on a $50,000 cash bond.

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