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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Man arrested for recruiting and enticing 3 minors to engage in commercial sex acts

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A Puerto Rican man was arrested Wednesday and charged with the recruitment and enticement of three minors to engage in commercial sex acts, following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Puerto Rico Family Department.

Rommel Cintron-Pons aka Peluquín was charged by criminal complaint, alleging that he was an alleged coordinator of a prostitution ring involving young girls serving as prostitutes to adult males for $1,500 dollars each.

"Few crimes are more shocking than the sex trafficking of minor children," said Roberto Escobar-Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Puerto Rico, "Together with our federal, state and local partners, ICE HSI is committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves."

According to the information, Cintron-Pons conducted a business through Latin Star restaurant and nightclub, which promoted the online services through www.mundoanuncio.com, by entering the key phrase "masajes eroticos" (erotic massages).

On July 8, Cintron-Pons met with the informant and confirmed that he had five 15-year-old female minors available for "services" to be provided to the clients. On July 12, Cintron-Pons met with the informant and agents and headed to the residence where the females would meet the clients and where Cintron-Pons would get paid. The agents arrived at the residence in Rio Grande and upon his arrival, Cintron-Pons was arrested and the females were interviewed. Three of the females indicated that they were under the age of 18.

"We will aggressively use all law enforcement tools available to us to investigate and apprehend sexual predators who pose a danger to our children," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.

The penalty for these charges is a minimum term of 10 years of imprisonment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dina Avila-Jiménez.

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