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September 16, 2022Austin, TX, United StatesChild Exploitation

HSI, federal foreign partners investigation results in arrest of Central Texas man for traveling to the Republic of Colombia to have sex with minors

AUSTIN, Texas – A Central Texas man was arrested Sept. 15 on criminal charges for allegedly engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place, following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from the Government of Colombia and the Colombian National Police. Michael Roberts, 40, of Round Rock, was arrested without incident.

“This investigation highlights the hard work of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Austin, in coordination with our overseas office and international partners in Colombia, to bring a child predator to justice,” said Craig Larrabee, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Antonio. “The arrest of Michael Roberts is affirmation that HSI is committed to protecting children from exploitation as well as ensuring the safety of our community in which we belong and serve.”

According to court documents, Roberts traveled from the United States to the Republic of Colombia to engage in illegal sexual conduct with minors. Roberts is charged by a federal indictment with three counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place. If convicted, Roberts faces up to 30 years in prison on each of the three counts. A federal district court judge will determine his sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

HSI would like to acknowledge and thank the Government of Colombia and the Colombian National Police for their cooperation with this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith M. Henneke, Western District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free tip line at 1-866-347-2423, or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the United States and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199; hearing impaired users may call TTY 802-872-6196.

HSI takes a victim-centered approach to child exploitation investigations by working to identify, rescue and stabilize victims. HSI works in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) partners, and other federal, state, and local agencies to help solve cases and rescue sexually exploited children. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to NCMEC’s toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

HSI is a founding member 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.

One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. Further, HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline, and is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and non-government partnerships to identify and rescue child victims, identify, and apprehend offenders, prevent transnational child sexual abuse, and help make the internet a safer place for children.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated: 09/16/2022