Police are seeking more indictments and arrests after smashing a baby-selling ring that apparently exchanged small amounts of cocaine for the babies of poor, female drug addicts, officials said Saturday.
Five people remained in jail in South Texas in Corpus Christi and Beeville on Saturday on charges of baby-selling and kidnapping. Police Sgt. John Messer said authorities think poor women sold the children as a last resort."They were in a position where they needed drugs badly, and they were taken advantage of," Messer said. "I've been in the police force for 20 years, and I've never seen anything like this."
A Nueces County grand jury Thursday indicted 22-year-old Rhonda Romero of Corpus Christi on charges she sold her two children, ages 1 and 2, for less than an ounce of cocaine apiece. Her bond was set at $2,500.
Romero allegedly traded her children for cocaine to Tomas Casas, 40, and Jose Luis Gomez, 41, both of Skidmore. Casas and Gomez were indicted on charges of purchasing a child. Casas was held without bond because he was on probation for a prior drug conviction.
Also arrested were Jose Luis Martinez, 70, and his daughter, Mercedes Martinez Gomez, 34, the wife of Casas, on kidnapping charges related to the incident. They were held in lieu of $50,000 bond each.
A drug informant first tipped authorities to a possible swap earlier this year that led them to the Skidmore ranch. Police have also talked to local prostitutes to try to find more female victims.