News/US: Denver man accused of importing boys for sex

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Subject: News/US: Denver man accused of importing boys for sex
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Thu Apr 06 2000 - 10:13:14 EDT


Denver man accused of importing boys for sex
By Karen Abbott
Chicago Sun-Times, February 26, 2000

DENVER -- Federal agents have arrested a Denver teacher, accusing him of
smuggling Mexican boys to the United States for sex.

Michael Charles Smith, 50, also is accused of belonging to a ring of
pedophiles who used a house in Acapulco, Mexico, for vacations that
included sex with boys. The boys were runaways and residents of an
orphanage, according to court documents.

Smith, who teaches math at North High School, was arrested Wednesday by
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service agents at his Denver home.

Computers and other items were seized from his house, a neighbor said.

Three young Mexicans, all in the United States illegally, lived there with
Smith, federal officials said.

One of them, now 26, had lived with Smith since he was 16. Another, now 19,
had lived there five years. There was little information on the third young
man.

"I am as shocked by these charges as I am sure he and his family are," said
Smith's attorney, Roger Moore.

Smith, who is in federal custody, could not be reached for comment. Moore
said Smith recently underwent heart bypass surgery.

Smith and at least five other men used a "bed and board" house in Acapulco
where they vacationed to have sex with Mexican boys, according to court
documents filed by the U.S. Attorney's office. An Indiana member of the sex
ring owned the Acapulco house, the documents said.

Federal agents said Smith had traveled to and from Mexico since at least
1988 and was most recently there in December.

The men in the alleged pedophile ring kept photographs and videos of young
Mexican boys in computers, sometimes in explicitly sexual activities, and
exchanged them over the Internet, according to court records.

Authorities began investigating Smith last September, after a U.S. Customs
Service agent in Chicago learned about the Acapulco "safe house for
pedophiles," as one agent called it in court documents, from two members of
the ring in Indiana.

A young Mexican living in Indiana told authorities that Smith helped
smuggle him into the United States last year, court documents show. The
youth, who wasn't certain of his own age, said he met Smith in Acapulco and
had sex with him several years ago, when he was about 15.

Smith is charged with harboring an illegal alien, a federal crime
punishable by up to five years in prison. Officials said other federal
charges are pending against Smith, possibly including importing an alien
for immoral purposes, sexual exploitation of children, selling or buying of
children, child pornography and transportation for sex.
Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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