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Child Exploitation

BEST team arrests convicted child predator for illegally returning to the US

Mexican citizen was deported in 2004 after child sex crime conviction

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Members of the local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-led Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) on Friday arrested a convicted aggravated felon who illegally re-entered the United States after he was deported in 2004 for raping a minor.

Cesar Gonzalez-Gomez, 43, from Mexico, was arrested Sept. 25 outside a residence in Anthony, N.M. He was convicted of aggravated burglary, criminal sexual contact with a minor, and other related sex crimes. He was sentenced to nine years in prison. After his release from prison, ICE deported him in October 2004.

Recently BEST members received information that Gonzalez-Gomez was back in the United States. He is believed to have returned to the country illegally in January. As a deported aggravated felon, he is charged with re-entry after deportation, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office also served him with an outstanding warrant for failing to register as a convicted sexual offender.

This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a comprehensive ICE initiative aimed at anyone who preys on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers and foreign national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Since the initiative was launched in July 2003, there have been more than 11,600 suspects arrested nationwide.

Additional information about Operation Predator is available on the Web at www.ice.gov. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may also be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

BEST is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), ICE-led national initiative created along the U.S.-Mexico border to respond to a dramatic surge in cross-border crime and violence in recent years. The BEST task force in Las Cruces is one of 15 such teams nationwide.

Las Cruces' BEST members include the following agencies: ICE; U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations; the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the FBI; the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); New Mexico State Police, Doña Ana Sheriff's Office; Las Cruces Police Department; and the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico.