Police: ACORN Staffer Reported Smuggling

By TONY SHIN
|  Tuesday, Sep 22, 2009  |  Updated 11:19 AM PDT
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Journalists Visited Local ACORN Office

David Lagstein with California ACORN confirmed the video is real. He said the employee in that video is Juan Carlos Vera.

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Police: ACORN Staffer Reported Smuggling

The ACORN employee taped discussing human smuggling with an undercover film crew reported that incident to police, according to police.

Journalists Visited Local ACORN Office

Grass-roots organizing has gotten a black eye on the national stage after undercover videos involving ACORN.
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A man fired from ACORN's San Diego-area office for discussing human smuggling with a fake pimp and prostitute reported the incident to police two days after it happened, according to information released by the police.

Juan Carlos Vera was fired by ACORN after a videotape was aired on Fox News showing him discussing with a couple posed as a pimp and a prostitute the best ways to smuggle underage prostitutes into the U.S. from El Salvador.

"It's better if it's in Tijuana," Vera is heard saying in the video.  "Because I have a lot of contacts in Tijuana." 

But police said in a press release that Vera reported the incident to his cousin, a detective with the National City Police Department. Vera worked in ACORN's National City office. The detective contacted a federal task force that deals with human smuggling, and an officer from the task force asked for more details. By then, Vera realized that he had been the victim of a ruse, and relayed that to the officer.

"This is new information and we are reviewing it as part of our investigation.  We will have no further comment at this time," ACORN Political Director David Lagstein saind in a statement,.

Vera could not be reached for comment.

Last week, Fox News showcased a copy of a video in which Vera advises the filmmaker on how to smuggle underage girls, and inquires about the price of the services from the woman acting as the prostitute.

At first, ACORN said the staffer misunderstood what the two were saying because of his faulty English. After reviewing the videos, the organization fired Vera.

"No paperwork was filed," Lagstein said in a statement when the videos first surfaced, "but the video reflects unacceptable conduct that contradicts (Carlos Vera's) earlier statements ..."

Vera denied that he was helping further a prostitution scheme. "That's stupid! I'm 39 years (of age)," he said. "What is my benefit to do that? I have my record clean. Over there and here. What is my benefit?"

 

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