Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Woman guilty of smuggling Mexican for surrogacy

Published:Tuesday | March 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Federal prosecutors say a north-east Florida woman has pleaded guilty to smuggling a Mexican woman into the US as a pregnancy surrogate and instead forced her into domestic labor through abuse.

Acting US Attorney W. Stephen Morrow yesterday said 47-year-old Esthela Clark of Jacksonville pleaded guilty to forced labour and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

According to the plea agreement, Clark paid $3,000 to have the victim smuggled into the US and assured her that the surrogacy would be medically supervised.

Instead, prosecutors say she forced the woman into domestic labor through abuse and used sperm from her boyfriend's used condoms to try and impregnate her. No pregnancy resulted.

Prosecutors say Clark also starved the victim, resulting in a 65-pound weight loss.