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Child Exploitation
01/29/2010

ICE arrests predator for sexually enticing minors, child porn production

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A 38-year-old man was arrested Jan. 28 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents for sexually enticing a minor and production of child pornography.

Armando Rodriguez-Rodriguez, of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, was charged with employing, using, persuading, inducing, enticing and coercing minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing photographs and videos of such conduct and for possessing child pornography.

On Jan. 14, ICE received information from the Puerto Rico Police Department regarding a complaint against Rodriguez-Rodriguez, who was charged locally for sexually molesting a male minor for the past two years.

ICE special agents executed a search warrant on Rodriguez-Rodriguez's residence on Jan. 28, and arrested him when a preliminary forensic analysis of his computer revealed images depicting child pornography and the sexual exploitation of minors.

The ICE investigation also revealed that Rodriguez-Rodriguez would invite the minors to this house, offering gifts and money, and engage in sexual acts with them.

Rodriguez-Rodriguez recorded the illegal sexual conduct with the minors and stored it in his computer. Additionally, he used an electronic instant messaging service and cellular phone to contact the minors.

"This arrest is a stern reminder of the consequences awaiting those who sexually exploit innocent children," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, acting special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Puerto Rico. "Some predators mistakenly believe that their crimes will go unnoticed because of the age of their victims; however, ICE will continue using its unique authorities to identify, arrest and prosecute those who endanger the most vulnerable segment of our society--our children."

Rodriguez-Rodriguez is in federal custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, awaiting the outcome of his case. This crime has a statutory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for first time offenders and 25 years for repeat offenders. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenifer Hernandez.

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.

ICE agents have arrested almost 12,000 individuals through Operation Predator, which launched in 2003.

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.

It should be noted that a complaint is an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.