Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Couples devastated by adoption scam

Couples who became unwittingly involved in an alleged adoption scam are 'devastated', their lawyer says

Eleven Irish couples caught up in an alleged adoption scam in Mexico have been left devastated by the affair, they have said.

While the lawyer at the centre of the baby trafficking plot remains on the run, the families who returned home last weekend have insisted they believed they were acting legally.

Offices belonging to the Lopez Y Lopez firm in Guadalajara have been raided and documents seized and six employees detained by police.

Carlos Lopez, who claims to have arranged the adoption of up to 60 children from Mexico to Ireland since 2004, is wanted over the apparent trafficking racket.

The 11 Irish couples, in their 30s and 40s and mainly from Dublin, are said to have followed official rules to the letter and only remained in the country after the affair broke more than a week ago to give statements to authorities.

Carlos Montoya, a lawyer from Guadalajara, western Mexico, acting for the couples, said: "Naturally all the families are devastated with the turn of events. All the families believed they were involved in public, Hague-compliant, legal adoptions. All families had valid Declarations to Adopt from Mexico as issued by the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI)."

Mr Montoya added: "I can tell you this much: they are innocent. They tried to adopt children legally. They did not know what was going on, they had no suspicions of wrongdoing and they called the Irish embassy when police started asking questions."

A US-based adoption agency is believed to have put the couples in contact with Lopez, who has claimed to have acted as a go-between for 20 years with families from around the world.

The scam involved mothers of babies being paid about 755 US dollars (580 euro) for their children to take part in photoshoots for a number of days. Instead they were being groomed for trafficking in illegal adoption.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the couples only remained in Mexico to give statements. No Irish people have been arrested.

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