Police in northern Mexico have arrested two people accused of buying Mexican babies to sell to U.S. couples for a profit, investigators said Wednesday.
Amado Torres, 64, of Harlingen, Texas, and his 25-year-old wife Maria Isabel Hernandez are suspected of buying more than a dozen children aged 2 or younger, officials say.
Investigator Oralia Mancha said the child trafficking ring came to light when a woman came to a police station in Reynosa on Monday to report her granddaughter missing, spotted Torres there and claimed he had the baby.
Police later arrested Torres and Hernandez after finding them with the baby at a house in nearby Rio Bravo.
The baby’s mother was also accused of child trafficking after she admitted she sold her newborn for $3,000.
Officials said Torres and Hernandez had a notebook with a list of babies. Mexican authorities were working with their U.S. counterparts to locate the children.
“We are in shock,” Mancha said.
Torres, originally from Puerto Rico, said he was a missionary helping pregnant mothers unable to pay for their medical expenses and the costs of raising a child.
Mexican law allows foreign adoptions, but they must be approved by the federal government and they can’t be for profit.