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Mexican social services official accused of trafficking babies

September 4, 2015
Jose Hernandez (left) and Vladimir Azarte are the two prime suspects.

Jose Hernandez (left) and Vladimir Azarte both stand accused of selling stolen babies.

Maria Garcia has not seen her daughter since Mexico’s social services took her away over three years ago. The same social services branch has now been implicated in a baby-trafficking scandal, prompting fears her child could have been sold to another family.

“I don’t know if they sold her or what happened,” she told The Independent. “I just want my daughter back.”

Authorities in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, which borders Arizona in the United States, announced this week they have recovered three babies from the child-trafficking ring but are still searching for the culprits and at least nine more missing children. The case has led several mothers to come forward and complain that local officials unfairly stripped them of their children.

The prime suspect is Vladimir Arzate, the 30-year-old deputy legal director at the local branch of Mexico’s family welfare agency, the DIF. Now a fugitive, Mr. Arzate stands accused of stealing 12 babies from vulnerable young mothers over a period of several years and selling them for adoption at about £3,100 to £5,800 each…

Click here to read this feature in full at The Independent.

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