SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A Villalba man, who allegedly attempted to transfer obscene material to a minor, was arrested Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents. HSI, working jointly with the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF), conducted the investigation which led to the arrest.
According to the indictment, during March 2014, Kervin Ruiz-Colon, 54, attempted to transfer sexually explicit photographs to a minor whom he believed to be 13-years-old.
Ruiz-Colon had his initial hearing Monday before U.S. Magistrate Sylvia Carreño Coll, who scheduled his preliminary hearing for May 28. He was ordered held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo.
"The arrest of this man was largely due to the promptness in which the information was passed to HSI by a parent, who very responsibly exercised her role as a mother by supervising her daughter's use of a cell phone and text messaging," said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. "Through the iGuardian initiative, HSI will continue educating our children and parents alike about Internet safety and how to protect themselves from online predators."
The investigation is 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.
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.