A new life: Operation Rio Grande arrestee lands job in Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office


SALT LAKE CITY — Destiny Garcia is the primary face somebody sees once they stroll into the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office.

She answers the telephone. She takes questions. Her No.1 job is to ensure constituents are heard.

On first impression, Garcia is matter-of-reality and attentive. She’s cordial and knows what good customer service ought to seem like.

Nothing about her provides away her past — except perhaps a faint scar above her lip.

Unseen are her once-damaged bones. The six screws in her ankle. A dent in her temple from when she was punched by an abusive ex-boyfriend.

Destiny Garcia, who was arrested during Operation Rio Grande, wipes away a tear in the Salt Lake County Mayor's Office on Wednesday, Oct 10, 2018. Garcia, who works as a receptionist in the office, graduated from the county's new drug court program on Wednesday, Oct 17.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Destiny Garcia, who was arrested during Operation Rio Grande, wipes away a tear within the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office on Wednesday, Oct 10, 2018. Garcia, who works as a receptionist within the workplace, graduated from the county’s new drug courtroom program on Wednesday, Oct 17.

The abuse led to ache tablets. Then needles. She stated her full-blown heroin habit began in 2014.

Garcia went from working on a university diploma in legal justice and social work to dwelling on the streets and shoplifting to feed her habit. Then came a felony report, and what appeared like an infinite cycle out and in of jail cells.

Quick-forward 4 years, Garcia, 38, sat in a conference room in the Salt Lake County Government Building, sporting silver hoop earrings and a business shirt.

She had been on the job because the mayor’s office receptionist since Might 1. In one week, she would graduate from drug courtroom.

“I adore it,” Garcia stated of her work and her new life. “I really like how I am not treated like a drug addict. Everyone knows my story, however no one ever treats me like my previous.”

Destiny Garcia, who was arrested during Operation Rio Grande, is pictured at her desk in the Salt Lake County Mayor's Office on Wednesday, Oct 10, 2018. Garcia, who works as a receptionist in the office, graduated from the county's new drug court program on Wednesday, Oct 17.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Future Garcia, who was arrested during Operation Rio Grande, is pictured at her desk within the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Workplace on Wednesday, Oct 10, 2018. Garcia, who works as a receptionist in the office, graduated from the county’s new drug courtroom program on Wednesday, Oct 17.

Garcia was considered one of more than 5,000 arrested as a part of Operation Rio Grande since final summer time. Her arrest date, Aug. 21, is seared into her reminiscence. It was the day that all the things changed for her — even if she was furious at the time.

She was ready for her dope vendor when she was picked up on 12 excellent visitors tickets and shoplifting expenses.

“I did not haven’t any money, did not haven’t any dope, I used to be going to be sick,” she stated. “I used to be full-blown addict mentality.”

However when she spent a while in jail, she stated she realized this time was totally different. When she was provided drug remedy via the new county program, Garcia stated she “bawled my eyes out.”

“I used to be so completely happy,” she stated. “I used to be prepared.”

Graduation

Garcia was considered one of 15 Operation Rio Grande arrestees who graduated from Salt Lake County’s new drug courtroom program on Wednesday.

One after the other, every graduate shared their stories of drug habit, crime, pain, damaged…



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