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Child Exploitation
08/25/2014

HSI arrests Carolina resident for transporting minor for sex

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico —U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, working jointly with the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF), arrested a Carolina resident Friday for transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual conduct.

HSI special agents arrested William Rodriguez-Lebron, 35, in Guaynabo after receiving information from the Puerto Rico Police Department's (PRPD) Sexual Crimes Division regarding the alleged transportation by Rodriguez-Lebron of a 15-year-old girl, identified as Jane Doe, with the intent to engage in criminal sexual conduct.

According to the criminal complaint, Rodriguez-Lebron allegedly coordinated sexual encounters between Jane Doe and her boyfriend, also a minor. The charging document also alleges that Rodriguez-Lebron coerced Jane Doe into having sex with him and that they had sexual intercourse at Jane Doe's residence on several occasions. The criminal complaint further alleges that Rodriguez-Lebron transported Jane Doe to a local motel with the intent to engage in criminal sexual conduct.

"Parental supervision is the first line of defense to protect our children from predators," said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. "We were able to uncover the aberrant actions of this man because of the diligent and responsible actions of a mother who found several text messages between the defendant and her son regarding the victim and the defendant's plans to engage them in sexual conduct."

In June 2011, the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF) was created by HSI San Juan to respond to the need for an island-wide approach to fighting the escalating number of predatory crimes against children. The task force is a partnership between HSI San Juan and members of local, state and federal law enforcement, as well as local and state government officials and community leaders.

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 a unified voice in defense of the children of Puerto Rico.

The task force and its investigations are part of HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

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.