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September 24, 2021Washington, DC, United StatesChild Exploitation

Joint US-Brazil investigation leads to arrest of Brazilian national for alleged rape of 2 children in New Jersey

First-ever extraterritorial child exploitation case in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) assisted in the arrest of a 44-year-old Brazilian national by Brazilian authorities on Sept. 10. The suspect was under investigation by HSI Newark for possession and distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), and concurrently by the Newark Police Department and Essex County Prosecutor’s Office for the alleged rape of an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old in New Jersey in June 2021.

An arrest warrant was issued by New Jersey authorities shortly after the alleged rapes took place. However, the Brazilian national had already fled the United States for Brazil by crossing into Mexico on foot and requesting an emergency travel document from the Brazilian embassy in Mexico. A Brazilian national cannot be extradited under the Brazilian Constitution, indicating the suspect fled to avoid arrest and prosecution by American authorities.

In August 2021, HSI began collaboration with the Federal Police of Brazil and the Civil Police of Espirito Santo Specialized Unit for the Protection of Minors, in the investigation and potential prosecution for violations of Brazilian Penal Code (CPB) 217-A, Rape of a Minor and 241-A/B, Possession and Distribution of CSAM. These violations fall under the premises of CPB Article 7, which allows criminal prosecution against Brazilian citizens for heinous crimes committed abroad. Along with the arrest, Brazilian authorities have requested all U.S.-generated reports and forensic evidence for use in Brazilian courts via the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

“This is a prime example of our strong partnership between the United States and Brazil,” said HSI Assistant Director of International Operations Patrick McElwain. “We all have the same goal, and that is to keep our communities and countries safe from criminals and criminal organizations, especially when crimes are committed against our children.”

“This case shows the continued dedication of our local, state, federal and international law enforcement partnerships working together around the globe to take a predator off the streets,” said Jason J. Molina, Special Agent in Charge, HSI Newark.

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. 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 takes a victim-centered approach to child exploitation investigations by working to identify, rescue and stabilize victims. HSI works in partnership with NCMEC, 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.

HSI is a directorate of 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 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 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.

Updated: 10/22/2021