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January 27, 2020New Orleans, LA, United StatesChild Exploitation

Harahan man indicted on child pornography charge following ICE HSI investigation

NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New Orleans Special Agents arrested a Harahan, Louisiana, man Thursday on a federal felony charge of receiving child pornography. The arrest stems from his indictment January 16 pursuant to an investigation by HSI with assistance from the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation.

Charles Lopez, 27, was arrested at his residence following a months-long criminal investigation after HSI and LBI executed a federal search warrant April 30, 2019, at Lopez’s home, where evidence was obtained indicating Lopez received images and videos depicting sexual exploitation of minors.

If convicted, Lopez faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years imprisonment up to 20 years, followed by up to a life term of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. This indictment is a criminal charge and guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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 19,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2018, more than 3,000 (3,191) child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 850 (859) 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. 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.

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.