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Child Exploitation

HSI arrests El Paso man who advertised, solicited young girl to have sex

EL PASO, Texas – A local man, who placed ads online seeking young girls "to have some fun," remains in federal custody after his arrest Wednesday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Salvador Lopez, 35, from El Paso, is charged with coercing and enticing minors, and transferring obscene materials to minors.

According to court documents, on April 16, special agents with HSI El Paso’s Cyber Crimes Group spotted an online ad that read: "Hi my names Saul and looking for a cute younger girl…to have some sex interested txt with pics…" The posting also included a local phone number.

That same day an undercover agent, posing as a 14-year-old female, responded to the ad. Between April 16 and April 25, "Saul" made numerous statements to sexually entice and coerce minors using a cellular phone. On April 19, "Saul" allegedly sent a picture of his genitals to the undercover agent. An HSI investigation confirmed that "Saul" was Salvador Lopez, who is on probation through the El Paso County domestic relations office.

Lopez requested a sexually explicit picture of the undercover agent, posing as a 14-year- old girl. Additionally, he sent two more obscene pictures to the person he believed was a teenage girl, saying he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her. And he requested she send him nude pictures of herself.

On May 1, Lopez arranged to meet with the undercover agent posing as the teen, and HSI special agents arrested him when he arrived at a predetermined location, according to an arrest affidavit.

Lopez made his first appearance in federal court May 2. His detention hearing is set for May 8.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair 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.