Arizona official quits months after ‘human smuggling’ charge

An Arizona official has quit months after being charged with running a human smuggling operation that paid pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to give up their babies in the US.

Paul Petersen’s resignation comes after months of pressure from his bosses in Maricopa County, Phoenix.

He is accused of illegally paying women from the Pacific island nation to travel to the US to give up their babies in at least 70 adoption cases in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas over three years.

Citizens of the Marshall Islands have been prohibited from traveling to America for adoption purposes since 2003.

Petersen is accused of human smuggling in Utah and Arkansas and defrauding Arizona’s Medicaid system by $800,000 (£610,000) by submitting false applications for the women to receive state-funded health coverage.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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