Authorities in Pakistan said they caught an organ trafficking ring led by a disgraced doctor and a motor mechanic who performed at least 328 illegal kidney transplants.
According to a police investigation, Fawad Mukhtar, a doctor who has already been arrested five times for negligence, utilized the anonymous mechanic as a surgical assistant and anesthesiologist on vulnerable patients lured from hospitals.
Mohsin Naqvi, the chief minister of Punjab province, stated that kidney transplants were performed in private houses, often without the patient’s consent, and that kidneys were sold for up to 10 million rupees ($35,000) each.
The arrested eight-man gang was said to be operating across eastern Punjab province as well as in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, causing at least three fatalities.
“The facts and figures that have come to us make the heart tremble,” Naqvi said during a press conference on Sunday night.
“There are a lot more transplants and illegal surgeries than this. These are the ones that we have confirmed.”
Pakistan outlawed the commercial trade of human organs in 2010, imposing a decade-long jail term and steep fines in hopes of curbing sales to overseas clients by exploitative middlemen.
In January, Punjab police busted another organ trafficking ring when a missing 14-year-old boy was found in an underground lab after having his kidney removed.