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Posted at 1:40 p.m. PST Tuesday, November 3, 1998

Woman investigated for allegedly selling babies

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- A New Zealand woman accused of operating a baby farm that sells infants to California couples is being investigated by police, a TV station has reported.

New Zealand police confirmed they are questioning Carla Chambers, who lives in a suburb of Wellington, New Zealand, KTVU said Monday.

Four women in the Wellington area said they were paid about $10,000 each in New Zealand currency, the equivalent of 5,000 U.S. dollars, to bear babies that would be sold in California.

Chambers claims her operation was legal.

U.S. authorities learned of the alleged operation in February, when Interpol, an international police agency, contacted California officers about a San Carlos couple who had arranged a sale.

Two New Zealand women found by authorities were sent home -- along with their babies. No arrests were made.

One woman told the station she was artificially inseminated at home but expected to fly to the United States to deliver the child and then sell it through Chambers.

Conceiving a baby with the express intent of selling it is illegal, immigration and adoption officials said.

``You're actually in violation of the slavery statute where you're buying and selling a child,'' said Diane Michaelson, former president of the American Adoption Attorneys Association.

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