ARIZONA MAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN MEXICAN BABY-SMUGGLING CASE
Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Author: Associated Press
Dateline: NEW YORK
An Arizona man pleaded innocent Friday in Brooklyn federal court to charges he smuggled Mexican children into the United States for adoption.
U.S. Magistrate Joan Azrack ordered Mario Manuel Reyes Burgueno, 41, held until a bail hearing on June 28. Reyes, of Douglas, Ariz., was brought to Brooklyn this week following his arrest on charges of alien smuggling, mail fraud and wire fraud.
"He will be looking forward to the opportunity to clear his good name, " his attorney, Stephen Scarling, said outside court.
Federal prosecutors allege Reyes - who practiced law until November in Agua Prieta, Mexico, across the border from his home - and two Long Island women ran an adoption ring that illegally placed 17 Mexican children in American homes for up to $22,000 per child.
Reyes allegedly used Mexican women with legal border-crossing documents to pose as mothers to bring babies into Arizona. A secretary in Reyes's law firm was arrested in October by Mexican authorities on charges of trafficking in children.
The co-defendants, Arlene Reingold, 47, and Arlene Lieberman, 48, of Medford, Long Island, were charged with conspiracy to violate various immigration laws, as well as mail and wire fraud, and were freed on $150,000 bail.
Attorneys for Reyes have described him as a strong proponent of adoption who believed he was helping save the unwanted babies of prostitutes and poor people.