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Child Exploitation
02/04/2013

Rhode Island man pleads guilty to producing child pornography outside the US

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island man has pleaded guilty to producing child pornography outside of the United States, and subsequently transporting it back into the country. When sentenced, the man faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a lifetime of supervised release. This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC Task Force).

Juan Carlos Santiago, 35, of Providence, R.I., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 6, 2013.

Santiago admitted to the court that he travelled to the Dominican Republic in January 2011 and recorded himself engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a prepubescent male child. He then transported the images and videos back to the United States. Santiago also admitted to recording video chat sessions – including sexually explicit conduct – with minors he engaged using social media. He also admitted that he possessed at least 50 such videos on his home computer, and that he received and distributed at least 150 images of child pornography.

HSI special agents, along with members of the ICAC Task Force, conducted a search of Santiago's residence Oct. 26, 2012. Law enforcement seized two computers, digital storage devices, a digital camera and assorted CDs and DVDs. A forensic examination of the equipment revealed numerous images of Santiago engaged in sexual activity with a prepubescent male.

Based on GPS coordinates embedded inside the photographs, HSI special agents determined that the images were taken in the Dominican Republic.

Santiago was arrested Dec. 20, 2012. He has been detained in federal custody since his arrest.

This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Adi Goldstein, District of Rhode Island, is prosecuting this case on behalf of the U.S. government.