The eleven Irish couples hoodwinked by an alleged adoption scam in Mexico told the press yesterday they have been devastated by the affair.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, the families, who returned to Ireland last weekend, claim they strongly believed they were acting within the limits of the law.
Meanwhile, the lawyer at the centre of the baby trafficking plot remains on the run as offices belonging to the Lopez Y Lopez firm in Guadalajara, Mexico have been raided and six employees detained by local police.
Authorities say that Carlos Lopez, who reportedly arranged for the adoption of up to 60 children from Mexico to Ireland since 2004, is now wanted in connection with the apparent trafficking scam.
Each of the 11 Irish couples, who range in age from their 30s to 40s and who mostly hail from from Dublin, reportedly followed official Mexican adoption rules to the letter and they remained in the country after the scandal broke only to give official statements to the authorities.
Carlos Montoya, a lawyer from Guadalajara, told the Examiner: '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).'
"I can tell you this much: they are innocent," added Montoya. "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."
As details of the scandal emerged it was discovered that a US-based adoption agency put the Irish couples in contact with Lopez. The scam involved the Mexican mothers of the babies being paid about $755 dollars for their youngsters to take part in bogus photoshoots for a number of days.
But instead of being a legitimate operation, the babies were being groomed for trafficking in illegal adoption.
Prosecutors now believe that childless Irish couples were charged steep expenses to cover medical bills, lawyers' fees, nanny services, and expensive apartment charges, up to a total of $30,000 US dollars each.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs told the press this week that the couples remained in Mexico only to give statements. To date no Irish couples have been arrested.
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