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January 26, 2018Bogotá, ColombiaChild Exploitation

Colombian National Police and ICE open forensic laboratory dedicated to child exploitation investigations

Lab is first of its kind in South America

BOGOTA – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Colombian National Police (CNP) officially opened the Yuliana Andrea Samboni Child Exploitation/Cyber Forensics Laboratory in a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by senior U.S. and Colombian officials.

“I would like to thank the Colombian National Police (CNP) Dirección de Policía Judicial e Investigación (DIJIN) for their dedication and commitment in developing a world class Child Exploitation and Forensic Laboratory here in Bogota” said HSI Assistant Director for International Operations Raymond Villanueva. “This laboratory will help the CNP, HSI, as well as other U.S. and international counterparts prevent these heinous crimes, rescue victims, and ensure justice is served as quickly as possible,” Villanueva added.

Since 2014, HSI Bogota has prioritized the investigation of child exploitation/child pornography in Colombia and has conducted extensive training for the CNP and prosecutors.  However, Colombia did not have a cyber forensics laboratory dedicated to analyzing electronic media, which caused a delay in investigations. Now, with the help of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), this state of the art lab will streamline investigations and eventually be used to assist other countries in the region in child exploitation investigations.

“Today highlights the importance of child exploitation investigations not only to HSI Bogota, but all 63 of our offices in 47 countries around the globe,” said HSI Attaché Luis Sierra. “This lab will serve as an example for the region in how to conduct child exploitation investigations and guarantee child predators are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Sierra added.

Yuliana Andrea Samboni, a seven year old girl from a poor family in Bogota belonging to the Yanakuna indigenous group, had fled to the city in 2013 with her family to escape fighting in their home province as part of Colombia's long-running civil war. In December 2016, she was kidnapped and later found murdered, with signs of sexual abuse and torture.

HSI special agents provided cyber forensic assistance in the investigation, which resulted in the 60 year prison sentence of an affluent 38 year old predator, Rafael Uribe Noguera, on charges of aggravated rape, kidnapping, torture and murder. The assistance provided by HSI led to criminal charges against Noguera’s brother and sister for obstruction of justice and evidence tampering. They are currently awaiting sentencing.