TRENTON, N.J. – A New Jersey man had his initial appearance in federal court today following his April arrest by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Fredy Marcelo Arbito, 31, the target of an HSI Cherry Hill, N.J., child exploitation investigation, was detained by Panamanian law enforcement at a police checkpoint April 5 based on an Interpol Red Notice and arrest warrant issued in the District of New Jersey for possession of child pornography. Arbito was escorted back to the United States by authorities, where he was arrested by HSI special agents based in Panama City, Panama.
HSI Newark had issued a public appeal in March 2013 for assistance in locating Arbito, who allegedly was also duping at least one young victim to produce additional child pornography.
According to the criminal complaint, Arbito knowingly and willfully possessed child pornography. In addition, the investigation revealed that Arbito allegedly used the Internet to victimize a minor by capturing and producing sexually explicit videos and images of the minor. Arbito allegedly accomplished this by pretending to be a minor female who befriended the minor victim. Arbito then threatened to send those sexually explicit images to the public if the victim did not comply with his demand to engage in further sexually explicit conduct online via a video chat.
If convicted, Arbito faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assisting in the arrest was HSI Cherry Hill, HSI Miami, HSI Quito, HSI Panama, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Department of State, Panamanian Immigration Service, Panamanian National Police, Hightstown (N.J.) Police Department and the Amtrak Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Joseph Gribko, District of New Jersey.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.
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.