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Child Exploitation

ICE arrests El Paso high school dance teacher on child pornography charges

EL PASO, Texas - A local high school dance teacher was arraigned Wednesday on child pornography charges following his arrest by special agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Marco Alferez, 34, an Irvin High School teacher, was arrested at his west El Paso home on Sept. 21 after ICE HSI special agents assigned to the cyber crimes group and other law enforcement partners executed a federal search warrant at his home in the 200 block of Pyrite Drive.

FBI special agents, El Paso County Sheriff's Office deputies, and El Paso Independent School District police officers assisted with the case.

ICE HSI agents seized two computers and various electronic media from Alferez' home. A forensic examination of the seized computers revealed sexually explicit images of child pornography.

ICE HSI began investigating Alferez last month as part of an ongoing child pornography investigation.

"Protecting children from being sexually exploited is an ongoing priority mission for our Homeland Security Investigations special agents," said Manuel Oyola-Torres, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in El Paso. "As part of our Operation Predator program, we relentlessly seek out and arrest anyone who produces, possesses or shares child pornography."

Alferez is charged with possessing child pornography. He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He remains in federal custody. His detention hearing is set for Monday.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, an ICE 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.  Since ICE launched Operation Predator in 2003, more than 12,800 child sex predators, sex tourists and child pornographers have been arrested.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators by calling at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. For more information, visit www.ice.gov.