Mexican authorities have reunited all but one baby to their biological mothers who were allegedly ensnared in an illegal adoption ring which involved Irish couples, the women's lawyer said.
According to attorney Yuri Marquez Jalisco, state authorities returned 10 of the 11 babies to their families last week. Prosecutors are running DNA tests on the remaining baby to confirm the identity of her mother.
The infants were taken into custody by the state’s protective services in January after an investigation was launched when a 21-year-old woman was accused of ‘renting’ one of her children.
According to WTXL News, the mothers involved were tricked by allowing their babies to be photographed for what they thought was an anti-abortion ad campaign. However, it later emerged that the pictures were shown to Irish couples who were trying to adopt.
Then Irish couples apparently paid lawyers to search for a baby, gain custody, and pay for the biological mother's prenatal care.
The Mexican mothers say that they signed contracts with a law firm allowing their babies to be photographed in different places in Jalisco state for an ad campaign.
They told investigators that the infants were taken for up to 15-days at a time and that they received 500 pesos ($36) a day as payment.
"The judge was able to see that far from being members of organized crime they are victims, they were tricked," Marquez said.
Federal prosecutors have not commented on the status of the charges but Marquez said seven people are still in Federal custody.
According to the mothers who were targeted, two of the women arrested searched a poor neighborhood in the outskirts of Guadalajara city in Western Mexico in search of babies.
Both the 21-year-old woman who was first detained and the grandmother of another baby were accused of knowingly taking part in the scheme, but they were released from prison six weeks ago due to a lack of evidence, Marquez said.
Cruz Guadalupe Gutierrez Moreno, (20), says she agreed to have her daughter photographed to pay for the child’s medical expenses after the baby girl was born with weak lungs.
"I was filled with joy when they told us our nightmare was over," Gutierrez told WTXL. "She knows me and seems happy. The only problem now is that I don't have money for her medicine."