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San Diego Man Sentenced for Child Sex Trafficking

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, along with officers assigned to the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF), arrested a Ponce, Puerto Rico resident Tuesday, February 12, 2013, for allegedly transporting minors with the intent to engage in criminal sexual conduct.

Nelson Santiago-Colon, 47, pastor of the Peniel Christian Church located in Santa Isabel, was arrested at his place of residence in Ponce after a referral from the Puerto Rico Department of Justice to HSI revealed the violation of federal child exploitation statutes by Santiago-Colon.

“Anyone who targets children for sexual exploitation should also consider themselves a target by HSI and by our law enforcement partners,” said Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “HSI aggressively uses its investigative authorities to protect our communities from those who seek to sexually exploit children for their perverse gratification. We have an obligation to protect those most vulnerable in our society who cannot protect themselves.”

On Jan. 18, Puerto Rico Police Department officers arrested Santiago-Colon on charges of sexual aggression of minors, lascivious acts and child abuse. He was granted bail in the amount of $110,000 by Puerto Rico Superior Court Judge Sheila Diaz. Shortly after he posted bail, Puerto Rico Department of Justice officials contacted HSI to charge Santiago-Colon under federal law. HSI special agents immediately began interviewing victims from the local case, which resulted in the arrest of Santiago-Colon on federal charges of transporting three minor males to his home where he allegedly sexually assaulted and committed lewd and lascivious acts on them.

According to the three-count complaint, Santiago-Colon is charged with transportation of minors with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. In counts one and two, Santiago-Colon is charged with having transported a 14-year-old boy and a 12-year-old boy from the Peniel Christian Church to his home for the purpose of committing sexual assault and lewd acts with the minors. Count three charges him with transporting a 14-year-old minor from the minor’s home to his home with the intent to perform lewd acts on the minor.

Santiago-Colon was transferred to the MetropolitanDetentionCenter in Guaynabo to await the outcome of his case. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a possible maximum statutory penalty of life in prison.

In response to the need for an island-wide approach to fighting the escalation of predatory crimes against children, HSI San Juan partnered with members of local, state and federal law enforcement, as well as local and state government officials and community leaders, to form PRCACTF in June 2011.

Through PRCACTF, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies work together with local and state government agencies to effectively pool their resources to jointly investigate all crimes against children in Puerto Rico. Through the task force, law enforcement officers are encouraged to share evidence, ideas, and investigative and forensic tools to ensure the most successful prosecutions possible. As such, PRCACTF allows law enforcement to speak with one unified voice in defense of the children of Puerto Rico.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the NationalCenter for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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California Child Predator Charged with Online Child Enticement and Exploitation

A Fresno man made his initial appearance in federal court the afternoon of Thursday, February 14, 2013, to face charges he engaged in sexually explicit chats online with a 13-year-old boy and used the Internet to entice the boy into meeting him for sexual encounters.

David Hume, 36, was arrested Tuesday, February 12, 2013, by investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office on charges detailed in a criminal complaint. In addition to online enticement of a minor, Hume is also charged with distribution of child pornography. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.

The charges stem from a probe by the Central California Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, including HSI, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and the Tulare Police Department. The probe allegedly revealed Hume engaged in sexually explicit online chats with the victim. The chats led to Hume’s meeting with the boy on two separate occasions last month where he sexually abused the child. According to the criminal complaint, the investigation also revealed Hume possessed numerous images and videos of child pornography, which he distributed over a peer-to-peer file sharing network.

“Those who sexually exploit children online falsely believe the Internet affords them anonymity and that their crimes will go undetected,” said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge of HSI Fresno. “As this case makes clear, not only does cyberspace not shield them from detection, the technology has given law enforcement new ways to investigate these cases.”

A forensic analysis of computers seized from Hume’s home allegedly revealed the defendant had numerous online chats involving the sexual abuse of minors as well as online conversations with the 13-year-old victim. On Feb. 12, the victim informed investigators he had been sexually abused twice by Hume. That night, investigators took Hume into custody.

Investigators are concerned there may be other unidentified victims in this case. They are asking for anyone who may have information related to the defendant or the case to contact the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office at 559-600-8144. The public may also report suspicious activity by calling ICE’s toll-free hotline 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by using the agency’s online tip form.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Puerto Rican Woman Indicted for Prostitution and Sex Trafficking

A Puerto Rican woman was indicted Wednesday, October 10, 2012, by a federal grand jury on prostitution and sex trafficking charges. The indictment follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

According to the indictment, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3, Betsian Carrasquillo-Peñaloza, 34, of Loiza, Puerto Rico, recruited, enticed, harbored and transported a 14-year-old female identified as N.M.C.C. to engage in commercial sex acts. Carrasquillo-Peñaloza allegedly knew that the female was a minor.

“Sex trafficking is a deplorable crime, especially when it involves underage victims who are particularly vulnerable,” said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “Prostituting young girls is a growing threat in our area, and we encourage anyone with information about this activity to call law enforcement. Your call could save a girl from sexual slavery.”

On Oct. 3, HSI, working jointly with Puerto Rico Police Department officers in the vicinity of Isla Grande in San Juan, arrested Carrasquillo-Peñaloza for transporting a minor with the intent to prostitute. A federal grand jury formally charged the woman with an additional charge of sex trafficking Oct. 10.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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