Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from March 25-27

Mar 27, 2022, 6:00 PM
(Photo by Sebastian Gollno/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Sebastian Gollno/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sebastian Gollno/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — A Gilbert resident was sentenced to 26 months in prison on Thursday for embezzlement of credit union funds, the Arizona Department of Health Services is losing one of its top officials and a Phoenix man will spend 10 years behind bars after being convicted of selling fentanyl to a woman who died after taking the drug.

Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.

Gilbert native sentenced to prison for embezzling more than $2.2 million

A 64-year-old Gilbert native was sentenced to 26 months in prison on Thursday for embezzlement of credit union funds.

Susan Irene Romero pleaded guilty in May 2021 for embezzling more than $2.2 million from the Winslow Santa Fe Credit Union, according to the United States Department of Justice.

Romero worked for the credit union for more than 30 years and held roles such as manager, president and chief executive officer.

The credit union found inconsistencies in its financial records during an audit, and an ensuing investigation uncovered the embezzlement.

Top official leaves Arizona Department of Health Services

The Arizona Department of Health Services is losing one of its top officials as Jessica Rigler, a state leader during COVID-19, is leaving her job for a position with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, azcentral reported Saturday.

Rigler held the title of assistant director for the department’s Division of Public Health Preparedness. She started the position when former ADHS director Dr. Cara Christ also left for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

According to the ADHS website, Rigler most recently worked to lead critical public health responses to opioids and COVID-19.

Rigler has been with the department for over 12 years, overseeing the Division of Public Health Preparedness which incorporates: Epidemiology and Disease Control, Emergency Medical Services, Public Health Statistics, and the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory, according to the website.

Phoenix man who sold fentanyl that killed woman sentenced to 10 years in prison

A Phoenix man will spend 10 years behind bars after being convicted of selling fentanyl to a woman who died after taking the drug, authorities said on Thursday.

Reyes Luis Holguin, 29, was sentenced in December and agreed this week to also pay $6,103 in restitution to the family of the woman who died, the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, said in a press release. Holguin will also have five years of supervised release after his prison term concludes.

“These dangerous pills are flooding Arizona communities, and studies show that 40% contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl,” U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino said in the release.

The woman communicated with Holguin in August 2019 using online messaging to purchase three fake prescription oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl, authorities said. She overdosed and died after taking the drugs and was discovered the next morning by her mother, authorities said.

Buckeye police seek shooting suspect who fled in black Charger

Police in Buckeye are trying to find the suspect in a shooting that sent one person to the hospital in critical condition Tuesday night.

Investigators believe Jose Esteban Mendoza, 33, was responsible for the shooting in a residential area near Jackrabbit Trail and Yuma Road, the Buckeye Police Department said in a press release.

Officers responded to the scene after receiving a call at 7 p.m. and found the wounded victim.

Police said Mendoza fled in a 2015 black Dodge Charger SXT with a Phoenix Suns Arizona license plate, number PX3432.

Detectives investigate vehicle collision in Glendale, 2 detained

Two people caught fleeing a motor vehicle collision shortly after midnight Sunday morning were detained, according to a press release.

The collision occurred near the intersection of W Glendale and 62nd avenues, near Glendale High School.

The detainees were the occupants of one vehicle, while an adult male in the other was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries, according to the release.

A second adult male occupant was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Vehicular crime detectives were on the scene investigating the incident, while Glendale Avenue closed from 61st to 63rd avenues. 62nd Avenue was also shut down between W Glenn Drive and W Lamar Road.

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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from March 25-27