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Child Exploitation

HSI arrests Hatillo resident for sexual enticement of minor

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, and officers assigned to the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF) arrested Tuesday an Hatillo resident for attempted production of child pornography.

According to the criminal complaint, on Jan. 30, HSI received information from the Puerto Rico Police Department’s (PRPD) sexual crimes division in Arecibo stating that Jose Donate-Mieles, 38, contacted a female minor through text messages and that he also sent a sexually explicit image of himself. Immediately after receipt of PRPD’s referral, HSI special agents interviewed the minor and launched an investigation which revealed that Donate-Mieles attempted to persuade an individual whom he believe to be a 13-14 year-old minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct.

“The number of child pornography cases in Puerto Rico are increasing at an alarming rate,” said Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “So far this year, HSI has executed 24 arrests involving child pornography or some kind of child exploitation—this is simply alarming. HSI will continue using all its available resources to identify and arrest those who exploit our children by committing these unspeakable crimes.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia M. Meconiates.

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 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.

The 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.