JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Mexican citizen has been charged by a federal criminal complaint with transporting and attempting to transport a minor child from Las Vegas to Jacksonville with intent that the child engage in illegal sexual activity. This case was investigated by the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Jacksonville Aviation Authority Police Department (JAAPD), the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department, and the Jacksonville State Attorney’s Office.
If convicted, Javier Guerrero Molina, 33, citizen of Mexico, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, up to life in federal prison. Molina was arrested May 30 at the Jacksonville International Airport and has been in custody on related state charges since that time.
"This charge highlights local, state and federal partners working together to stop the exploitation of minors," said Susan L. McCormick, special agent in charge for HSI Tampa.
According to the criminal complaint, during the afternoon of May 29, the JAAPD received a telephone call from an individual who advised that a particular female minor child had disappeared from her home in Las Vegas and was believed to be traveling by air to Jacksonville.. JAAPD officers queried the National Crime Information Center and learned that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department had made a "missing persons" entry regarding a 14-year old female child with the same name.
A check of airline manifests confirmed that this minor child was listed as a passenger on board a flight from Las Vegas to Jacksonville, with a connection in Charlotte, N.C. JAAPD coordinated with officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department (CMPD), who intercepted the child at the Charlotte International Airport and took her into protective custody. The child had been scheduled to board a flight from Charlotte to Jacksonville, due to arrive shortly after midnight on May 30.
The criminal complaint alleges that, as the expected arrival time for the Jacksonville flight approached, a JAAPD officer observed Javier Guerrero Molina in a waiting area in the Jacksonville International Airport lobby. When asked by the officer, Molina advised that he was there to meet a particular passenger and he was subsequently detained.
During an interview, Molina admitted that he entered the United States in 1999 or 2000 by paying a smuggler $700 to help him cross the border on foot near Laredo, Texas. Record checks confirmed that there is no record of Molina legally entering the United States or ever having legal status in this country. Molina also stated that he had previously engaged in sexual activity with the child in Jacksonville, before the child and her family moved to Las Vegas. He also stated that he sent the child money to pay for a one-way airline ticket from Las Vegas to Jacksonville, and that he expected their sexual relationship to continue when the child returned to Jacksonville.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair 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.