A man from the north of Colombia repeatedly impregnated a mentally disabled woman and sold the children for cash and household appliances over 14 years, police have reported.
Authorities say 60-year-old Alfonso Regulo Alvis Arrieta, from the northern Bolivar department, sold between eight and 14 babies to families in the United States and Colombia.
He worked with “midwife” Higira Gutierrez Vargas, who according to some media reports was his girlfriend, to deliver the babies and exchange them for money, electrical goods or food.
The 39-year-old victim, who suffers from unspecified “cognitive impairment”, was forcibly made pregnant every year, according to Colonel Hugo Homes, a Bolivar police commander.
The “child factory” was discovered three months after concerns were raised by neighbors who had noticed the couple’s babies disappearing.
At least eight children have been sold or exchanged, two of which are in the United States. Others are in the Colombian cities of Bolivar, Cartagena and Barranquilla.
After four months of investigation, police arrested Arrieta and Gutierrez for serious crime of the trafficking of minors. If convicted, the accused will face between 30 and 60 years in prison.
The pair are currently being held in jail, awaiting trial.