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Child Exploitation
09/07/2010

ICE arrests man accused of producing child pornography images of 6-year-old relative

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents arrested Saturday a San Juan, Puerto Rico, resident for possession and production of child pornography.

Lisandro Ortiz-Ramos, 31, was arrested by ICE HSI special agents after he was released from the Centro Medico Hospital in San Juan, where he received medical attention for lesions inflicted by unknown individuals caused by an apparent act of indignation related to his alleged possession and production of sexually explicit images of a 6-year-old relative.

On Aug. 31, HSI special agents received information from the San Juan and Puerto Rico Police Departments that during an incident in the Vista Hermosa public housing project, it was learned that Ortiz-Ramos allegedly had photographs of a 6-year-old relative exposed in a sexually explicit manner.

ICE HSI assumed jurisdiction of the case and on Sept. 2, Ortiz-Ramos was indicted by a federal grand jury for possession and production of child pornography.

"All children have an absolute right to grow up free from the fear of being sexually exploited," said Roberto Escobar-Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Homeland Security Investigations in San Juan. "ICE will relentlessly pursue anyone who physically abuses or sexually exploits our most vulnerable asset, our children."

Producing child pornography is punishable by a statutorily mandated minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; transporting child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison; possessing child pornography is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Each statute carries a fine of up to $250,000.

Ortiz-Ramos is in federal custody and was transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, awaiting the outcome of his case.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.

Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested almost 12,000 individuals through Operation Predator.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dina Avila.

Ortiz-Ramos is presumed innocent until and when proven guilty in a court of law.