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Corpus Christi mother admits to selling her children to pay drug debt


Representatives from Region 11 of the Texas DFPS give tips on recognizing and reporting signs of child abuse. April is child abuse prevention month.
Eleanor Dearman/ Caller-Times, Wochit

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A Texas mother who admitted to selling her children to settle a drug debt was sentenced Friday to six years in prison. 

Esmerelda Garza of Corpus Christi, who sold her son for $2,500, agreed to a plea deal Monday in court. 

She was convicted of three counts of selling or purchasing a child, a third-degree felony. She also was convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to sell or purchase a child, state jail felonies.

Garza was given six years for selling her children and two years for the other charges. The sentences will run concurrently. 

In June, Texas Department of Public Safety special agents found a 7-year-old boy at a home in Corpus Christi while executing a search warrant.

“Further investigation revealed two more female children, ages 2 and 3, who were in the process of being sold,” a news release stated at the time. 

A woman told investigators she purchased the child from Garza for $2,500, according to an arrest affidavit.

“Garza stated that she and her boyfriend owe drug money and gave her child to (the woman) who (paid) $500 cash and clear the (owed) debt and an extra $700 when the ‘custody paperwork’ was signed,” the report states.

An unidentified man and woman were also arrested, according to a news release at the time. It’s unclear if they were charged with a crime. 

Prosecutors and Garza’s attorney declined to comment after Friday’s hearing because a gag order is still in place. A Child Protective Services case is pending. 


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