The investigation into an adoption-for-cash scheme uncovered last year in Sonora took a step forward with the detention of alleged mastermind Vladimir Alfredo Arzate Carbajal, a former government official.
The investigation into Arzate and at least 15 accomplices began with an anonymous report received by Sonora Attorney General Carlos Navarro Sugich, which warned that infant trafficking had been going on since 2012.
At the time, Arzate was the coordinator of a helpline that received reports of children suffering abuse, operated by the DIF family services agency.
In that position, Arzate was able to monitor newborn babies in the comprehensive care center of the Children’s Hospital in Hermosillo, where authorities determined whether the babies’ families were able to take care of them.
Arzate is facing charges for seven crimes, all related to adoption for cash and breach of his official duties, and could be sentenced to more than 40 years behind bars.
Arzate worked with José Hernández López, an official with the Regional Ranchers’ Union of Sonora, who connected corrupt state officials with possible buyers for the children.
The babies fetched between 80,000 and 150,000 pesos, or as much as US $20,000 if the prospective adopters were from the U.S.
The arrest is the first in the case. Hernández and 14 others remain at large.
Source: Milenio (sp)