SANTA PAULA : Police Say Mom Used Girl, 9, in Drug Sales

A Santa Paula woman who used her 9-year-old daughter to sell cocaine was arrested at home Thursday afternoon, police said.

Alida Cortez, 35, who sold cocaine to an undercover officer on four occasions, had her daughter translate from Spanish to English during the transactions, said Oxnard Police Sgt. Mike Matlock.

Matlock said the girl was involved in at least two of the drug sales.

Cortez was booked into Ventura County Jail on suspicion of cocaine sales, possession of cocaine for sale and the use of a minor to sell narcotics.

Her husband, Jose Gonzales, 39, was booked for allegedly possessing cocaine for sale.

The couple were arrested at their Santa Barbara Street apartment after police seized about half an ounce of cocaine, Matlock said.

The arrest followed a six-month investigation by the Ventura/Oxnard Narcotic Enforcement Team, a task force of officers from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, Matlock said.

The task force has been in existence for approximately one year.

The girl was referred to Ventura County Protective Services, Matlock said.

"I didn't see any indication she was being coerced into this," Matlock said. "I'm sure it was a willing thing. She probably didn't know any better."

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