Ten American citizens have been arrested on suspicion of attempting to take 33 children out of Haiti as part of an illicit adoption scheme.
The five men and five women – who deny the allegations – were detained when their bus was stopped at Haiti’s main border crossing with the Dominican Republic.
Haitian police say they had no documents to prove they had cleared the adoption process or any evidence the children were orphaned.
The Americans, who all members of an Idaho based charity, are now being held in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.
Their driver, who gave his name only as Roberto, said he was convinced the suspects would be cleared of any wrongdoing.
“No because I saw family members giving the children away because the parents were dead and their relatives couldn’t support them,” he said. “So the families were giving the children to them so they could be cared for and be educated.”
Meanwhile an American doctor involved in the relief effort says many of those who survived the January 12 earthquake will die unless the US military resumes airlifts which have been suspended in a row over who pays for hospital treatment in the US.
Doctor Barth Green said: “The problem is, that on a high level, a decision has been made to halt the military evacuations which are life saving… and to not allow these patients to leave Haiti and have their lives saved.”
An estimated 200,000 people died in the quake and up to a million more have been left homeless.
Hurriedly erected field hospitals are overflowing and are hard-pressed to provide required medicine and treatments.
Many pharmacies were wrecked in the quake and the contents quickly looted.
Now a new and unregulated drugs market is emerging, with street vendors charging sky high prices for vital supplies.