SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A Puerto Rico man was arrested Thursday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for production of child pornography.
This arrest is the result of the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force, an ICE HSI lead initiative that joined all state and local entities to combat crimes against children.
On July 20, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Julio Rodriguez-Del Valle, 45, of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, for using, persuading, enticing and coercing a male and female minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct, specifically lascivious exhibition of the genital areas, for the purpose of producing a video image using a hidden camera which had been mailed, shipped or transported in interstate commerce.
"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 go after them and will not rest until they are brought to justice."
On July 14, ICE HSI received information from the Puerto Rico Police Department's Sexual Crimes Division in Humacao, Puerto Rico, regarding an individual who used a hidden camera to record two minors using the bathroom. The ICE HSI agents took custody of six DVDs containing the images of the minors.
On July 21, a search and arrest warrant issued by Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin from the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico was executed at the subject's residence.
"Our children, who are the most defenseless and innocent victims in our society, deserve every measure of protection we can give them," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Valez. "All sexual predators will be held accountable for the heinous crimes they commit."
Rodriguez-Del Valle had his initial hearing July 21 before Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin and was transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, awaiting the outcome of his case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dina Ãvila-Jiminez for the District of Puerto Rico is in charge of the prosecution.
If convicted, Rodriguez-Del Valle faces a sentence of a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life imprisonment.
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 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.