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 a Vieques, Puerto Rico, resident Monday for allegedly producing child pornography and transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Jonathon White-Ayala, 24, was arrested at his place of residence in Vieques after an HSI investigation revealed that he allegedly requested nude images of a 14-year-old girl identified as "Jane Doe" and transported her to his residence with the intent that she engage in sexual activity. The HSI investigation stemmed from a Puerto Rico Police Department referral Oct. 15, 2012, alerting HSI that White-Ayala had committed a sexual aggression against a 14-year-old.
White-Ayala had his initial hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sylvia Carreño Monday. He was transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, awaiting the outcome of his case.
"Predators who victimize innocent children for selfish gratification must know that we will not rest until they are brought to justice, regardless of where they live," said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. "Through partnerships with state, local and other federal law enforcement agencies, HSI will continue to vigorously investigate child exploitation cases like this one. Words cannot describe the harm that these crimes inflict on children."
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.
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.