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Child Exploitation

ICE arrests west Texas man who traveled to Mexico to have sex with minor

"Sex tourist" faces maximum of 30 years in prison, if convicted

EL PASO, Texas - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents on Wednesday arrested a San Elizario, Texas, man who allegedly traveled to Mexico to have sex with a teenage girl in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.

A federal grand jury indicted Gustavo Solis-Martinez, 35, on July 16 for traveling out of the country with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, a federal offense that falls under the PROTECT Act. The Act authorizes fines and/or imprisonment of up to 30 years for U.S. citizens or residents who engage in illicit sexual conduct abroad, commonly known as "sex tourism."

"Sex tourism is a felony offense that ICE investigates aggressively with the help of our international law enforcement partners," said Roberto G. Medina, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in El Paso. "This case exemplifies our international resolve to ensure that those who prey on children do not go unpunished."

Solis-Martinez remains in federal custody at the El Paso County Detention Facility after going before a U.S. federal magistrate judge for an initial appearance July 24.

In a separate ICE investigation, a federal judge this past April sentenced John Dickens Armstrong, 51, to more than nine years in prison after he pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity with teenage girls in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. ICE special agents obtained an arrest warrant for Armstrong last year after learning that Ciudad Juarez police officers arrested him for engaging in sexual conduct with underage girls.

Sex tourism investigations are part of ICE's Operation Predator, an ongoing initiative targeting those who sexually exploit children. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,000 individuals nationwide, including more than XXX in Texas. The public is encouraged to report suspected child predators and suspicious activity by contacting ICE's 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE; and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, at 1-800-843-5678 or www.cybertipline.com.