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Saturday, 16 December, 2000, 07:30 GMT
'Sperm smugglers' charged
Sperm smuggling: Procreation despite incarceration
Sperm smuggling: Procreation despite incarceration
By Stephen Cviic in New York

Federal prosecutors in the American state of Pennsylvania have charged seven people with contraband offences, including smuggling human sperm.

The charges concern imprisoned members of the Mafia who allegedly smuggled their semen out of jail so their wives could become pregnant.

Cryogenic kit: Key to the alleged smuggling cases
Cryogenic kit: Key to the alleged smuggling cases
Those accused could receive a $250,000 fine, or a five-year prison sentence.

Among them is Antonio Palavecchio, a racketeer in Allenwood Jail, who two years ago allegedly bribed prison guards to bring him a cryogenic sperm kit.

According to prosecutors the kit was then sent to a fertility clinic in Manhattan where Mr Palavecchio's wife, Maria, was inseminated.

Children fathered

That attempt was not successful, so the couple repeated the procedure several times.

Pennyslvania prosecutors say the Palavecchios were not the only offenders, and they know of at least two children fathered with sperm smuggled out of Allenwood jail.

Three of the seven people allegedly involved in the scheme are due to appear before a judge next week.

They are being charged with, among other things, bribery and nuisance contraband.

For members of America's east coast Mafia, smuggling sperm seems to have been a response to a very real problem - how to stop incarceration getting in the way of procreation.

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