SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – In the first sexual extortion – or "sextortion" – case ever prosecuted in the District of Puerto Rico, a man charged with coercing a female minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography was arrested Tuesday in Caguas. The arrest resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF) and the Greenwood Village Police Department (GVPD) in the state of Colorado.
Jimmy Caraballo-Colon, 25, was arrested at his place of residence by HSI special agents after an investigation that began with the GVPD revealed he was blackmailing a 17-year-old female from Colorado that he met in an anonymous Internet video chat website.
According to court documents, Caraballo-Colon offered the minor "game points" for removing her clothes. He then proceeded to blackmail the minor by threatening to post the nude recording on the Internet if she did not provide personal information such as her phone number, e-mail, Skype address and Facebook account information. Despite the fact that the minor complied with Caraballo-Colon’s request, the sextortion escalated as he demanded more sexually explicit acts during video chats, which he also recorded.
"Child exploitation, in all its forms, must be among the most heinous crimes a person can commit, but when the element of sextortion is part of this unspeakable abuse, the aberration is even more nauseating and the emotional pain inflicted on the victim is just overwhelming and hard to endure," said Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. "Make no doubt, HSI will continue utilizing all its resources and, along with our federal, state and local partners, will continue identifying those who victimize the most vulnerable segment of our society – our children."
On Tuesday, HSI special agents executed a search warrant at Caraballo-Colon’s residence, where he was subsequently arrested. If convicted, he faces a sentence of 15 to 30 years 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 National Center 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.