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Motives of Adoption Ring Suspect

June 2, 1999

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ A lawyer accused of smuggling Mexican children into the United States for illegal adoptions was trying to help them, his attorney said Tuesday.

Mario Reyes Burgueno sought to help ``unwanted children of prostitutes in large measure and very poor people who simply couldn’t afford to bring another child into the world,″ said Reyes’ attorney, Ivan Abrams. ``His intentions were good.″

Reyes, 41, was arrested last week at his home in border town of Douglas, Ariz., on charges of fraud and alien smuggling. He allegedly used Mexican women with legal border-crossing documents to pose as mothers to bring babies into Arizona.

Federal prosecutors in New York charged Reyes and co-defendants Arlene Reingold and Arlene Lieberman of Medford, N.Y., with running an adoption ring that illegally placed 17 Mexican children in American homes for up to $22,000 per child.

Mrs. Lieberman, 48, and Mrs. Reingold, 47, neighbors on Long Island, were charged with fraud and conspiracy to violate various immigration laws. They were released on $150,000 bail.

Federal prosecutor Steve Yarbrough said the government has no plans to remove the Mexican-born children, who lack INS immigration documents, from their adoptive parents.

U.S. Magistrate Nancy Fiora heard arguments for and against releasing Reyes on $50,000 bail at a hearing Tuesday but did not immediately issue a ruling.

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