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Child Exploitation

HSI arrests former municipal band director for production of child pornography

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A former director of the Dorado, Puerto Rico, municipal band had his initial appearance in district court Monday following his arrest by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents Friday for production of child pornography.

According to the criminal complaint that charges Nelson Velez-Luciano, 45, of Ponce, Puerto Rico, with production of child pornography, HSI special agents received information from the Puerto Rico Police Department that Velez-Luciano had allegedly committed lascivious acts against a 17-year-old female. These acts allegedly began when the girl was 13 years old.

As part of Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF), HSI began an investigation that revealed Velez-Luciano requested sexually explicit images from the minor.

Friday, HSI special agents executed a search warrant at Velez-Luciano's residence in Jardines del Caribe in Ponce. A preliminary forensic analysis of the electronic media seized revealed images depicting child pornography. He was immediately placed under arrest by HSI and transferred to the Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Metropolitan Detention Center.

"HSI will not tolerate the exploitation of the most vulnerable members of our society, and will continue working with our partners in the PRCACTF to investigate those who exploit our children and deprive them of their innocence," said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. "This case is particularly alarming as the defendant was in a position of trust with access to minors. Make no mistake, HSI will continue to investigate and apprehend those who exploit our children, especially those who betray the trust placed in them by committing these despicable acts."

In response to the need for an island-wide approach to fighting 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 PRCACTF in June 2011.

Through the PRCACTF, federal, local and state law enforcement agencies work together with state and local government agencies to effectively pool their resources to jointly investigate all crimes against children in Puerto Rico. Through the task force, law enforcement agents are encouraged to share evidence, ideas, and investigative and forensic tools to ensure the most successful prosecutions possible. As such, the PRCACTF allows law enforcement to speak with one unified voice in defense of the children of Puerto Rico.

Velez-Luciano faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, and a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in prison per count.

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.