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Child Exploitation

ICE arrests 3 men for possession of child pornography in Puerto Rico

One of the 3 men arrested also charged with sexual enticement of a minor

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Three men have been arrested within the past 72 hours for possession of child pornography following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

Gregorio Roman-Portalatin, 53, was arrested without incident by ICE agents on Friday in his Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, residence for possession of child porn and sexually enticing a minor. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 21, 2009, after a forensic analysis of the computer seized during a search warrant of his residence revealed visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Roman-Portalatin had his initial hearing Friday before Magistrate Judge Bruce J. McGiverin. He was transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico until his bail hearing which is scheduled for Nov. 16, 2009.

This morning, ICE agents also arrested Victor Resto-Rodriguez, 51, of San Juan, and Jorge Raul Witter-Badillo, of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, for possession of child pornography. Both men had their initial hearing before Magistrate Judge Marcos E. Lopez.

"The increase of predator arrests in our jurisdiction is a clear indication of our commitment to identifying, apprehending and prosecuting those who use the Internet to sexually exploit our children," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, acting special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Puerto Rico. "Predators who think that they can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet should know that we have the legal means to find them."

The statutory punishment for possession of child pornography is not less than five years and not more than 20 years and $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenifer Hernandez will prosecute these cases.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested almost 12,000 individuals through Operation Predator.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.