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Child Exploitation

ICE arrests Puerto Rican community leader for production of child pornography

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A community leader in charge of managing the girls' volleyball team at Residencial Alturas de Isabela was arrested at his place of residence in Isabela, Puerto Rico, Saturday on production of child pornography charges following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The man arrested was identified as Luis A. Montalvo-Cruz, 54, aka Vaquero.

On or about March 31, Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) received a complaint from a woman who lives at Residencial Alturas de Isabela, the same housing project where Montalvo-Cruz and the 15-year-old female minor victim live.

According to the complaint, at approximately 2:00 a.m. Saturday, an anonymous person knocked on the woman's door and left a small bubble bag containing a Micro SD card on the doorstep of her apartment.

When she reviewed the Micro SD card, she discovered nineteen video clips. Twelve of these video clips portrayed the female minor engaging in explicit sexual conduct with Montalvo-Cruz. The rest of the videos were voyeuristic type videos portraying five different female minors while they were playing at the volleyball court and the interior of apartments located at Residencial Alturas de Isabela. The videos were focused on the genital area of the girls.

The woman identified one of the female minors portrayed in the voyeuristic videos as her 11-year-old daughter. She immediately contacted the mother of the other female minor and explained to her what she had seen in the videos. In the morning hours both women went to the PRPD precinct to file a complaint.

Later that same day, PRPD detained Montalvo-Cruz as a precautionary measure because the neighbors in the public housing project might attempt to kill him.

"We will simply not tolerate the victimization of our children," said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. "Have no doubt, HSI will be knocking at the doors of those who exploit our children, and will arrest them and prosecute them."

In response to the need for an island-wide approach to fighting the escalation of predatory crimes against children, HSI San Juan partnered with members of local, state and federal law enforcement, as well as local and state government officials, and community leaders, to form the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF) in June 2011.

Through PRCACTF, federal, local and state law enforcement agencies work together with state and local government agencies to effectively pool their resources to jointly investigate all crimes against children in Puerto Rico. Through the task force, law enforcement officers are encouraged to share evidence, ideas and share investigative and forensic tools to ensure the most successful prosecutions possible. As such, PRCACTF allows law enforcement to speak with one unified voice in defense of the children of Puerto Rico.

If convicted, Montalvo-Cruz faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in prison per count.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.