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Child Exploitation
06/16/2011

ICE arrests Puerto Rican school bus driver of special education students for producing child pornography and sexually enticing a minor

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A local school bus driver was arrested on Wednesday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for producing child pornography and sexually enticing a minor.

Ricardo Del Valle-Diaz, 33, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, is a school bus driver for special education students.

"The increase in the number of cases involving child pornography and sexual enticement in our jurisdiction is alarming," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in San Juan. "Those involved in this despicable crime should know that ICE HSI will pursue them, and we will not rest until they are brought to justice."

On June 10, an ICE HSI special agent received a complaint from the Puerto Rico Police Department's Sexual Crimes Division in Caguas stating that Del Valle-Díaz had video and audio recording of a special education student engaged in a sexually explicit conduct while on the school bus.

Del Valle-Díaz was charged in a criminal complaint for using, persuading, enticing, and coercing a girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct, specifically lascivious exhibition of the genital areas and performing sexual acts. Valle-Díaz allegedly promoted this behavior so he could produce a video image using the camera of his computer which had been mailed, shipped or transported in interstate commerce.

"Our children, who are the most vulnerable and innocent victims in our society, deserve every measure of protection we can give them," said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. "A child sexual predator will be held accountable for the unspeakable crimes he committed." Project Safe Childhood is an initiative of the Department of Justice aimed at preventing the abuse and exploitation of children by use of the Internet and other mediums.

If convicted, Del Valle-Diaz faces a minimum 10 years and a maximum of life in prison. He had his initial hearing June 16 before Magistrate Judge Marcos Lopez. He was then transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, awaiting the outcome of his case.

This investigation is part of Operation Predator, an ICE-led 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. Individuals with information about suspected child predators are encouraged to call 1 866 DHS 2ICE. For more information, visit www.ice.gov.