A woman suspected of selling her now 15-year-old niece to a man for $6,000 is behind bars after she was arrested in Hays County last Tuesday and charged with trafficking a child.
Gloria Elizabeth Romero Perez, 31, is accused of paying for her niece to be smuggled into the U.S. from Honduras and selling her to a man, Julio Amilcar Jimenez-Ramirez, 34, who is also behind bars, Comal County Sheriff’s Office Detective Anthony Moreno said.
An investigation began in April when Romero Perez called Kyle police to report that her teenage niece had run away, Moreno said.
Comal County police officers located the teen at Jimenez-Ramirez’s house and while authorities transported the teen back to the custody Romero Perez, the teen told police her aunt had sold her to the man and produced receipts.
The teen showed detectives two receipts from payments toward the $6,000 figure dated from Nov. and Oct. last year totaling $1,600.
Jimenez-Ramirez was subsequently arrested on April 1 for harboring a runaway child and was charged with sexual assault of a child and trafficking a child when it was found that the teen was pregnant with Jimenez-Ramirez’s child.
Further investigation from the Comal County Sheriff’s Office also revealed that the teen’s aunt and Jimenez-Ramirez had entered into an informal pen-paper contract that stated the girl would be paid for in $600-$700 payments each month.
The contract between Jimenez-Ramirez and Romero Perez was initiated sometime last year, Moreno said, but Romero Perez purportedly became impatient when the teen moved in with Jimenez-Ramirez and threatened to call police on the man.
“(Jimenez-Ramirez said) the aunt was extorting the money from him and he was threatened that she would tell the police and call immigration on him,” Moreno said via phone Monday.
Jimenez-Ramirez is from Guatemala and is suspected of living in the country illegally.
Moreno said wire transfers indicate the teen’s aunt paid approximately $6,000 for her to be smuggled into the U.S. and that Romero Perez paid an additional amount to smuggle her mother into the U.S. as well.
It appeared the woman was attempting to re-gain costs of smuggling the teen into the country, Moreno said.
The teen, who recently gave birth, is being held in Child Protective Services’ care and Moreno said the child is a citizen of the U.S.
It’s unclear if the teen will remain in the U.S. with her child, or if she will return to Honduras.
Jimenez-Ramirez remains at the Comal County Jail on a $523,000 bail while Romero Perez is held on a $500,000 bail.