Many people are outraged at the length of the sentence.
Esmerelda Garza took a plea deal on April 5, reported KRISTV, admitting to three counts of sale of a child, one count of money laundering, and one count of conspiracy to sell a child.
Investigators discovered her 7-year-old son at a home in Corpus Christi last June while executing a drug warrant, reported USA Today. They later discovered he had been sold for $2,500 by Garza who also planned to sell two more of her children, all to pay off a drug debt.
According to KRISTV, she was sentenced to six years for each count of sale of a child, to two years for money laundering, and to two more for conspiracy to sell a child. However, the judge ruled that the sentences will be served concurrently, meaning a total jail time of only six years.
“She was charged with three different counts of sale or purchase of a child,” Assistant District Attorney Jenny Dorsey said, according to KIITV. “Those are third-degree felonies, and then there was a fourth count for money laundering, and a fifth count for conspiracy to commit sale or purchase of a child. Those are two state jail felonies.”
“She was sentenced to six years in TDC, in prison, and the companion state jail counts,” First Assistant District Attorney Matt Manning said. “She was sentenced to the maximum, which is two years in state jail. It’s very important to us that we send a very clear and unequivocal message: 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.”
However, according to local reports, Garza may not have to serve the full six years as she will become eligible for parole earlier.
But for many members of the public, even the full six years is not enough, with many social media users outraged by the sentence.
A Corpus Christi mother is headed to prison after pleading guilty to trying to sell her son to repay a drug debt.
“Six years huh? How is that justice? Sell your child and get 6 years. Sell dope and get 20. She should get at least 20 years,” wrote one.
Another wrote, “Such a weak justice system!! It’s a shameful day when you can sale your child to pay a drug debt and ONLY get 6 yrs!! That’s NOT JUSTICE!”
Chinese 19-Year-Old Sold Daughter to Buy iPhone and Motorbike
In 2016, a Chinese teenager was reported to have turned himself in a year after selling his newborn daughter to buy an iPhone and a motorbike.
“A Duan,” as he was identified in news reports, sold his 18-day-old daughter to a stranger in 2015 receiving 23,000 yuan (about $3,520) after bargaining, according to the Xiamen Daily News. The events took place in the city of Tong’an, in the eastern coastal province of Fujian.
The biological mother, Xiao Mei (a pseudonym), worked temporary jobs and was below the age of consent when they conceived the child. A Duan, who had not completed high school, spent most of his time in Internet cafes. Once A Duan discovered he could sell the baby, he elected to do so—without the mother’s consent.
He found a buyer on QQ, a popular online social media platform, who purchased the child for his sister.
Soon after the baby was sold, the distraught mother left the city. Xiao Mei was eventually tracked down by police and arrested. “I myself was adopted, and many people in my hometown send their kids to other people to raise them,” she said, according to reports. “I really didn’t know that it was illegal.”
The judge reduced their penalties, taking their difficult circumstances into account, and because the offender had turned himself in: A Duan was sentenced to three years, while Xiao Mei was given a suspended sentence of two-and-a-half years. She was reportedly helping raise her younger brother in middle school and taking care of her parents, who suffer disabilities.
Epoch Times reporter Juliet Song contributed to this article.