CALI, Colombia — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) partnered with the National Police of Colombia (CNP) Feb. 10 to arrest a woman accused of sexually abusing and exploiting two children.
Specialized units from CNP's Directorate for Protection and Special Services (DIPRO), assisted by HSI Bogota agents, arrested Sandra Carabali Valencia on child exploitation charges. She is accused of sexually exploiting two children – ages 3 and 9 – who have since been rescued and placed in a home by Colombia's Child Protective Services. CNP DIPRO continues to collect evidence from the home and the investigation is ongoing.
The investigation began two years ago when police in Denmark discovered a video containing child pornography believed to have been produced in the U.S. The lead was forwarded to HSI in Holland who in turn forwarded it to the HSI offices in the U.S. Based on analysis and investigation of the video, two subjects believed to be responsible for production of the child pornography were arrested by HSI agents in Pensacola and received prison terms of 29 and 35 years respectively.
As a result of the continuing investigation, HSI agents in Redding, Calif., identified an additional suspect who was arrested and admitted to purchasing live child molestation shows from an unidentified woman in Colombia. This information was provided to HSI agents at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, who worked jointly with the CNP and was able to identify and locate the woman. They then determined the videos and live shows she was producing involved the sexual exploitation of two minor children.
"Working jointly with the Colombian National Police and Colombian Attorney General's Office, Homeland Security Investigations will continue to aggressively pursue child predators in the U.S. and Colombia," said Luis Sierra, HSI's attaché in Colombia.
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 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
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.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. 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.
Through ICE's Office of International Affairs and the State Department, HSI has 67 attaché offices in 48 countries around the world. This presence includes an on-the-ground relationship-building effort of HSI special agents working closely with foreign law enforcement agencies, and through a robust network of specialized vetted units known as Transnational Criminal Investigative Units. Additionally, HSI brings personnel from host countries to the United States to train at the Department of Homeland Security Federal Law Enforcement Training Center at Glynco, Ga.