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Child Exploitation

New York man sentenced to 10 years in prison for transporting a minor for sex

GREENBELT, Md. – Edgar Daniel Mazariegos-Cifuentes, 40, a Guatemalan citizen illegally residing in Monroe, N.Y., was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by lifetime supervised release for transporting a minor to engage in sexual activity. The sentence follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Maryland State Police and the Monroe, N. Y. Police Department.

Judge Alexander Williams, Jr., ordered that upon his release from prison, Mazariegos must register as a sex offender.

According to his plea agreement, in November 2011, the 15-year-old daughter of family friends of Mazariegos moved from Guatemala to Monroe, N.Y., to live with her mother and stepfather. Mazariegos frequently visited the girl’s home and was treated as a member of the family. On several occasions Mazariegos drove the girl and her family members to or from Boston to visit the girl’s uncle. Between November 2011 and August 2012, Mazariegos and the girl communicated by telephone and computer. Mazariegos also posted messages on the girl’s Facebook page professing his love for her.

On Aug. 13, 2012, the girl had an argument with her mother and called Mazariegos because she was upset. Early the next day, Mazariegos picked up the girl and drove her to Silver Spring, Md., and checked them into a hotel so that he could engage in sexual intercourse with the girl. On Aug. 15, 2012, Mazariegos rented a room in an apartment, presenting the girl as his girlfriend. On Aug. 25, 2012, Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit officers and HSI special agents located Mazariegos and the victim in the apartment.

When the victim was interviewed, she reported that when Mazariegos initially picked her up, she thought he was taking her to her uncle’s home in Boston. The victim stated that Mazariegos took her phone away when she said she wanted to call her uncle and told her that he was taking her to Silver Spring so they could start a new life together. The victim advised that Mazariegos forced her to have sex with him at the hotel and several more times during the 11 days they were in Maryland.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood and information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.

The case was investigated by the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, formed in 2007 to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders. Members include federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as victim service providers and local community members. For more information about the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, please visit www.justice.gov/usao/md/Human-Trafficking/index.html.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristi N. O’Malley.