09/22/2014 02:46 pm ET Updated Nov 22, 2014

American Implicated in Congo Child-smuggling Ring

At least one U.S. citizen --and possibly more--has been implicated in a child-trafficking scandal in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) while allegedly trying to smuggle kids out of the African country for the purpose of adoption, according to local press reports.

Radio Okapi reported this week that Congolese authorities have implicated a U.S. citizen identified as M. Samuel Jessy in an attempt to illegally smuggle seven children --six girls and one boy, ages 2-8 -- across the DRC's southern border into Zambia in an attempt to expedite their delivery to families in the United States. It's not clear whether the American has been detained. A Congolese citizen who lives in the U.S. and two women in the capital city of Kinshasa were also reportedly involved in the smuggling operation.

The children who were being smuggled are thought to be in custody of the Congolese government.

U.S. authorities won't confirm the reports. "Due to privacy considerations, we are unable to share further information at this time," a U.S. State Department official said.

An after-hours call to the DRC's Direction Générale de Migration was not immediately returned.

The illicit practice of smuggling children across the DRC's borders has reportedly been going on for years, sources tell Fusion....

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