PHILADELPHIA - Eduardo Sanchez-Moragues, 28, of Barcelona, Spain, was sentenced on July 17 to 240 months in prison after pleading guilty on sex tourism charges. This case resulted from an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Sanchez-Moragues pled guilty to traveling in interstate and foreign commerce with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a child.
"Traveling across an ocean to sexually exploit a child whose father was complicit has to be one of the most depraved and heinous crimes a human being could conceive," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Philadelphia. "Let this case be a message to all predators that ICE and our international law enforcement partners will scour the globe to ensure they are held accountable for their actions here in the United States in order to protect the most vulnerable population, our children."
According to court records, this case arose out of a February 2004 ICE investigation into "the receipt, possession, and interstate transportation of child pornography." During the investigation, agents identified one of the pornographers as Daniel Witmer, a co-defendant. An examination of Witmer's computer confirmed he was trading pornographic photographs of children. Special agents also found images of Sanchez-Moragues engaging in sexual activity with Witmer's child and communications between Witmer and Sanchez-Moragues discussing Sanchez-Moragues' intention to travel to the United States.
Sanchez-Moragues was arrested by the Spanish National Police in Barcelona, Spain, on May 25, 2005, on unrelated charges. On Jan. 16, 2009, he was arrested on the U.S. federal charges and extradited to the United States.
Witmer was sentenced in federal court in May 2006 to a 240-month term of imprisonment on sexual abuse of children and aid and abetting charges. In June 2006, Witmer was sentenced to 10 to 20 years' imprisonment in Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas in Pottsville, Pa., on related charges, to run consecutively to the sentenced imposed on the federal offence.
During the sentencing, U. S. District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo further ordered that Sanchez-Moragues serve a life term of supervised release.
This case has been investigated by ICE, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Spanish National Police and was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Gordon A. Zubrod.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative launched in 2003 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.
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.