Cops Bust Dad Who Married Off Girl, 14, for Beer

Arranged marriage legit in Mexico, but trafficking minors in Calif.
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2009 6:24 AM CST
Marcelino de Jesus Martinez, 36, faces felony charges of receiving money for causing a person to cohabitate.   (Greenfield, California Police Department)
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(Newser) – Something got lost in translation when a California man arranged for his 14-year-old daughter to marry an 18-year-old neighbor in exchange for cash, beer, and meat, reports the San Jose Mercury News. When the bridegroom failed to pay the promised $16,000, 160 cases of beer, and six cases of meat, dad called the cops—landing both men felony charges involving corruption of a minor.

The local police chief said such arranged marriages are common in the part of rural Mexico the family hails from. "It's kind of a clash of two different cultures, but I have to uphold the local law," he said. "Everything they were doing would be legal in Mexico. When I'm in Mexico I respect Mexican laws. But you respect the law here when you are here. This involved a juvenile." (Read more Mexican-Americans stories.)