Mother sells 7-year-old son for $2,500 to pay off her drug debt, gets 6 years in jail
Esmeralda Garza, who is from Corpus Christi, pleaded guilty to three counts of selling or purchasing a child
A woman from Texas who sold her 7-year-old son for $2,500 just to pay off her drug debt has been sentenced to six years behind bars. Esmeralda Garza from Corpus Christi pleaded guilty to three counts of selling or purchasing a child. The woman was also convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to sell or purchase a child. The investigators have also said that Garza had additionally been planning to sell her daughters as well. The girls are just 3 and 2-years-old.
The Daily Mail reported that she was given six years behind bars for selling her son and two more years for the additional charges. The sentences will reportedly be running concurrently. Special agents from the Texas Department of Public Safety said that they discovered Garza's son at a residence in Corpus Christi while conducting a drug search warrant in June. The young girls were also in the house.
According to USA Today, a woman who was in the house at the time told the authorities that she had bought the boy from Garza for $2,500. Garza then subsequently told the investigators that she and her boyfriend owed money for the drugs and had given her child to the woman to repay it.
The woman is said to have given Garza $500 in cash, and the couple was supposed to receive an additional $700 when the custody paperwork was signed. The boy's father, Roland Olivarez II, said that he had no clue that his son had been in danger.
He told KIII 3 News in July last year: "He put his trust in her, and that was the last thing he would think she would do. I never thought she would do this to my child. He just trusted mom so much that he didn't think that anything like this would happen. You know, nobody would think something so ugly as this would happen."
The man also clarified that he had been separated from Garza for seven years but shared custody of their son. Lucy Naranjo, Olivarez's sister, said: "If we knew anything that was going on, we would have done everything to stop it, but of course you can't stop something that you have no clue of what's going on. I couldn't imagine anybody doing that. I'm a mother myself. I don't know what was going through this girl's head. No child deserves what my nephew's going through at all."
Naranjo also said that Garza had given her brother the boy, saying she couldn't "handle him" anymore. She also said, however, that the mother returned to get her son back in April last year and then stopped communicating with Olivarez altogether.
First Assistant District Attorney Matt Manning said that the prosecutors on the case wanted to send a "very clear and unequivocal message" with Garza's sentencing. He told KIII: "If you hurt children or have the audacity to sell a child, we're going to do all we can to hold you accountable and put you in prison where you belong. The most important part is that she is absolutely going to prison and she's being held accountable for this most heinous offense."
Garza will be eligible for parole only after two years. The case against Garza's boyfriend and the couple who bought the child by the Texas Department of Public Safety is still ongoing.