EL PASO, Texas — A convicted sex offender remains in custody following his arrest Wednesday by special agents with U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Leonardo Medina, 44, was arrested Nov. 13 on a criminal complaint alleging he solicited sex from a person he believed was a 13-year-old girl.
According to the criminal complaint affidavit, Medina sent text messages requesting sex to an undercover HSI special agent who posed as a teen-age girl. Between Oct. 30 and Nov. 11, 2013, Medina followed up his original texts with multiple requests for naked pictures of the teen-age girl. Medina also sent the undercover HSI special agent a full-frontal naked photograph of himself displaying his genitalia.
Court records also show that Medina made plans to pick up the teenager and take her to his residence for "an overnight or a weekend-long sexual encounter…"
On Nov. 13, HSI special agents arrested Medina and charged him with attempting to entice a minor, and attempting to transfer obscene materials to a minor.
Medina also is a registered sex offender from his 2009 conviction in Texas for online solicitation of a minor. He was sentenced to three years in prison following that conviction. If convicted of the current charges, Medina faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. He is scheduled to have a detention hearing Nov. 19 in federal court.
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 producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking 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.
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.