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Child Exploitation
06/26/2009

ICE arrests 4 Puerto Rican men for transferring obscene material to minors

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Four men, from four different municipalities in Puerto Rico, were arrested for transferring obscene material to a minor via Internet, following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

Walter Madera-Ortiz, 55, of Aguadilla, P.R., was arrested last night in Aguas Buenas. Orlando Diaz-Aviles, 45, of Naguabo, P.R.; Jorge Galarza-Dones, 48, of San Lorenzo, P.R., and Emeterio Santiago-Maldonado, 58; of Manati, P.R., were arrested this morning. The four men were charged with violations to Title 18, United States Code (USC), Section 1470-transfer of obscene material to a minor.

"These arrests send a strong message that ICE agents will continue to police cyberspace to investigate and bring to justice those who sexually exploit the most vulnerable segment of our society, our children," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, acting special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Puerto Rico. "ICE relentlessly pursues predators who sexually abuse children, whether that abuse is physical or whether it is accomplished by exploiting their images or through the use of obscene material."

Today's arrests were part of Operation Predator, a comprehensive ICE initiative aimed at those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign national predators whose crimes make them deportable.

Additional information about Operation Predator is available on the Web at www.ice.gov. ICE encourages the reporting of suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is 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.

This case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Hernandez.

The defendants are presumed innocent until and when proven guilty.