Jose Colon-Bonilla, 21, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in May 2009 without incident from his suburban Springfield, Mass., home on child exploitation charges and attempting to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. He pleaded guilty to the charges in October.
Following his sentence, he will begin a lifetime supervised release term, register as a sex offender, and be barred from any online communication not related to his education or occupation.
"Like an increasing number of child predators, this individual discovered that there is no anonymity online since an electronic trail to the perpetrator is inevitably created," Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge, ICE Office of Investigations in Ohio and Michigan. "ICE will continue to work closely with its federal and local law enforcement counterparts to protect our nation's children from sexual predators who mistakenly believe the Internet shields them from detection."
Moskowitz also commended the Holyoke Police Department for their assistance. Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Moskowitz announced the sentence.
ICE agents executed a federal search warrant at Colon-Bonilla's home in January 2009. While there, agents seized media storage devices and a personal computer belonging to Colon-Bonilla. Forensic examiners found more than 125 images and 33 movies of child pornography.
The investigation also revealed that Colon-Bonilla coerced a Cincinnati area minor into sharing explicit images of himself via email and consenting to an in-person meeting. The minor grew uncomfortable by Colon-Bonilla's constant pressure and control and later ended communication with Colon-Bonilla, prompting Colon-Bonilla to send the explicit images to the minor's father, principal and assistant principal of the school the minor attended.
The U.S. Attorneys Office in Massachusetts assisted with the prosecution of this case. This case is part of Operation Predator, which is a nationwide ICE 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.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. 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.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.