Two young Texas women, ages 20 and 31, face up to 180 days behind bars and a $2,000 fine after police, tipped off by neighbors, orchestrated a sting operation to catch the women providing beauty services in their homes, an apparent violation of a stay-at-home order.
Neighbors of Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia, 31, and Brenda Stephanie Mata, 20, sent anonymous tips to the Laredo Police Department via an app, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram.
“Both of the violators independently solicited customers via social media,” the department said in a statement. “On both cases, an undercover officer working on the COVID-19 task force enforcement detail made contact with each solicitor to set up an appointment for a cosmetic, beauty service that is prohibited under the emergency ordinance.”
Castro-Garcia was arrested “after she agreed to and met with an undercover officer who posed as a customer needing a nail service,” the report outlined.
“Castro-Garcia admitted to running a nail salon inside her residence and promoting the business on social media, going against the mayoral decree currently in place,” said police.
Mata was arrested after she “allegedly agreed to perform an eyelash service inside her residence for an undercover officer posing as a customer,” according to the news report.
“We remind the community that there is an emergency management plan in place in order to control the spread of the novel COVID-19 virus. Laredo police officers continue to address violations of the order with enforcement,” the department added.
Both women were charged with a Class B misdemeanor for violating an emergency management plan, which carries up to 180 days behind bars, a $2,000 fine, or both.
As noted by Texas Tribune, Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) noted of the two young women by name in a statement released May 7 regarding amendments to his executive orders, saying Castro-Garcia and Mata “should not be subject to confinement.”
“Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen,” the governor said. “This is why I am modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order.”
“It may also ensure that other Texans like Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia and Brenda Stephanie Mata who were arrested in Laredo, should not be subject to confinement,” Abbott said.
“As some county judges advocate for releasing hardened criminals from jail to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is absurd to have these business owners take their place,” the Republican concluded.
Texas salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced Tuesday to a week in jail and a $7,000 fine for opening her salon in defiance of state orders, The Daily Wire reported.
When Dallas Judge Eric Moye told Luther she had the option of acknowledging she was wrong and selfish for opening her salon and apologize to elected officials, Luther responded, “Judge, I would like to say that I have much respect for this court and laws and that I have never been in this position before and it’s not someplace that I want to be. But I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I’m selfish because feeding my kids — is not selfish. I have hair stylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids. So, sir, if you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision, but I am not going to shut the salon.”
The following day, Gov. Abbott joined Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in ripping the actions taken against Luther:
I join the Attorney General in disagreeing with the excessive action by the Dallas Judge, putting Shelley Luther in jail for seven days. As I have made clear through prior pronouncements, jailing Texans for non-compliance with executive orders should always be the last available option. Compliance with executive orders during this pandemic is important to ensure public safety; however, surely there are less restrictive means to achieving that goal than jailing a Texas mother.
Additional information has been added to this post
The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media’s rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.