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Russian grandmother 'wanted to sell child for organs'
MOSCOW, Russia -- Police in a Russian city have discovered a grandmother allegedly trying to sell her five-year-old grandson for his organs.
Five-year-old Andrei was allegedly sold for $90,000 in an operation that stunned police in Ryazan, an hour's drive south of Moscow.
While illegal adoptions are nothing new in Russia, police were alarmed that those suspected of selling Andrei, who had been living at an orphanage, were his own grandmother and an uncle.
They were also shocked that he was bought for such a high price because he was sold for his organs -- kidneys, eyes, possibly the heart or the lungs.
A police detective said: "Such a betrayal. We've never had a crime like it. It was hard to believe, listening to the conversations (on the surveillance tape).
"But there is an illegal market for organs, especially children's organs."
The uncle, a married butcher with two daughters, told police during his interrogation that he was pursuing a dream.
"I wanted to buy a house and a new car and some clothes. It was my dream. I wanted to leave him at the orphanage, but my mother was insisting that we could get $70,000 for organs."
Police said Andrei's grandmother Nina not only sold her grandson, she lied to her own son about the price, pocketing $20,000.
But she told police she was not selling her grandson but that she only wanted to have him adopted.
"We were supposed to meet a man to discuss adoption. I didn't get any money," she said.
If convicted, she may be imprisoned for three to ten years, the penalty in Russia's criminal code for selling children's organs.
Andrei is back at the orphanage, where attendants say, he misses his grandmother.
CNN's Steve Harrigan in Moscow says Russian police will not reveal who the prospective buyers of the child were, or who the buyers are in other cases.
He says police say only that the buyers in this and other cases are generally "westerners."
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