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Child Exploitation
08/26/2010

ICE nabs El Salvadoran for possession of and production of child porn

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico. - Special agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested a Luquillo, Puerto Rico, resident Tuesday for possession and production of child porn.

Jose Argueta, 54, of El Salvador, who was residing illegally in the United States, was arrested by HSI special agents when a search of his residence on June 30 revealed several videotapes containing inappropriate sexual activity involving two minors. He was charged with violations to Title 18, United Sates Code, Section 2251(a).

"This arrest sends a strong message to anyone who would even consider exploiting children in this manner," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of the ICE HSI office in Puerto Rico. "People who create and possess child pornography are truly putting our children at risk-we're talking about images and videos depicting the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in horrific ways. We will continue to work closely with our local, state and federal partners to seek justice for those who perpetrate these despicable crimes."

Argueta is in federal custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) where he remains awaiting the outcome of his case. ICE will begin deportation proceedings once his criminal case is complete.

Any person, or victim, with information about Argueta's illegal activities is encouraged to contact ICE at 787-729-6969.

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.