A former police chief in Peru, Raul Becerra, and his partner, Cintia Tello, were arrested on Tuesday for their role in a baby trafficking ring.
They are accused of belonging to a ring of a dozen people — including doctors — who took babies from poor women and put them up for sale.
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Prosecutors say the price set for babies was around 4,000 Peruvian soles ($1,187).
The Guardian reports:
A paediatrician and a gynaecologist were also arrested in what Peruvian police called a mega-raid in Peru’s second largest city Arequipa, in the south of the country. Hundreds of police officers and dozens of prosecutors raided 18 homes and businesses and rescued a five-month-old baby.
Retired police officer Raul Becerra was director of Peru’s national police force in 2010 but it is his partner Cintia Tello who is suspected of leading the trafficking ring, the police general, Walter Ortiz, told local media.
The gang included hospital workers who would identify mothers they could potentially exploit, according to the prosecutors’ investigation.
Among those arrested are two women who, it is alleged, secretly touted for backroom abortionists outside a hospital. They persuaded women considering abortions to accept money in exchange for their newborn babies, prosecutors said. Abortion is illegal in Peru unless the mother’s health is at risk.
Other members of the ring took care of the babies while its leaders scoped out potential buyers. Prosecutors say they are investigating if the babies were offered for illegal adoption by foreigners or, possibly, for organ trafficking.
All of those arrested are facing charges of organized crime, people trafficking, and crimes against life and health. They will likely be detained for at least a week as the preliminary investigation gets underway.