A man sought in the killing of his stepmother in Mexico entered a guilty plea to an unrelated drug charge Tuesday.
Aaron Juarez, 20, is suspected by authorities in Tijuana of shooting his stepmother and burying her body in the backyard of her home.
Juarez, represented by a public defender, raised his hand Tuesday and swore to tell the truth to a judge in San Diego County Superior Court.
Juarez pleaded guilty to possession of heroin for sale and agreed to a two-year state prison term.
He was on probation for unlawful possession of a firearm when he was arrested on the drug charge. That probation was revoked.
A sentencing date was set for April 17.
No other criminal charges have been filed.
“There is an active arrest warrant for him in Mexico,” Robert Eacret, Deputy District Attorney said, adding that the investigation in Tijuana did not play a role in the charge in the U.S.
Even so, the sister of Fernanda Gonzales was in court.
Juarez is facing murder charges in Tijuana but not in the United States for the death of the 32-year-old Tijuana woman.
“Today was not easy,” said the victim’s sister Erika Gonzalez. “It’s hard to see he don’t care what he did.”
She said she lost contact with her sister on Feb. 3 and reported the disappearance two days later.
That same day, Fernanda Gonzalez's husband showed up at UC San Diego Medical Center with an unexplained gunshot wound. He is a U.S. citizen who works in San Diego.
Juarez had been living with Fernanda Gonzalez and her husband at her Tijuana home for the past two months -- the same home where the body was discovered.
The police did not search the property right away, so the family conducted a search of their own and found Fernanda Gonzalez's body buried right where tipsters said to look.
San Diego County court documents show Juarez has a criminal history. He was charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon and resisting an officer for an incident in November 2018. He was also charged with transportation and sale of marijuana.