SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A former Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) police officer was sentenced Wednesday to 22 years in prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release, for possessing and producing child pornography. The sentence follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of the PRPD and the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF).
On March 12, 2015, HSI special agents arrested Gabriel Rodriguez-Pacheco, 33, of Yauco, for persuading, enticing and coercing two female minors, 16 and 17 years of age, to engage in sexually explicit conduct, namely the lascivious exhibition of their genital areas, for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct.
On March 26, 2015, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a 17-count indictment against Rodgriguez-Pacheco charging him with 16 counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He was found guilty of all charges August 2017.
In response to the need for an island-wide approach in the fight against the escalation of predatory crimes against children, HSI San Juan partnered with members of local, state and federal law enforcement, as well as local and state government officials and community leaders, to form the PRCACTF in June 2011. Since the creation of the task force, child exploitation cases within the HSI San Juan jurisdiction have increased by 324 percent compared to the period prior inception of the initiative.
Through PRCACTF, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies work together with local and state government agencies to effectively pool their resources to jointly investigate all crimes against children in Puerto Rico. Through the task force, law enforcement officers are encouraged to share evidence, ideas, and investigative and forensic tools to ensure the most successful prosecutions possible. As such, PRCACTF allows law enforcement to speak with one unified voice in defense of the children of Puerto Rico.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.