ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands- A 45-year-old man was indicted here today on sex tourism charges following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.
The two-count indictment, which was returned today, charges that on or about Sept. 27, 2008 in St. Croix, Victor Cancel, did knowingly travel in interstate and foreign commerce from St. Croix to the Dominican Republic for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with an individual under the age of 18 and did engage in illicit sexual conduct with said individual.
Cancel was also indicted in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Nov. 5, 2008, in connection with the St. Croix charges and charged with producing, transporting and possessing images involving the sexual exploitation of a minor and enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct.
"Those who seek to harm and sexually exploit our children should know that we will hold them accountable for their actions," said Manuel Oyola Torres, special agent in charge of ICE Office of Investigations in Puerto Rico. "We will continue working closely with other law enforcement agencies and prosecutors at the local, sate and federal level to investigate and bring child predators to justice."
For the St. Croix offenses of traveling with the intent to have sex with a minor, and engaging in sex with a minor in a foreign country, Cancel faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine per charge.
The arrest of Cancel was part of a nationwide initiative known as Operation Predator. Operation Predator protects our children from sexual predators, including those who travel across continents to have sex with minors. Internet child pornographers and criminal alien sex offenders and child traffickers are also a priority for ICE. Since the initiative was launched in July of 2003, there have been more than 11,500 individuals arrested nationwide.
ICE encourages anyone who wants to report suspicious activity of suspected child predators and suspicious activity through our toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. Investigators staff this hotline around the clock.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http:/www.cybertipline.com.
Victor Cancel is presumed innocent until and when proven guilty.