SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A Bayamon resident who enticed minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing pornographic photographs and videos was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Francisco Besosa to 38 years in prison Tuesday. The investigation leading to this sentence was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF).
Armando Rodriguez Rodriguez, 42, was charged with enticing and inducing minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing photographs and videos of such conduct and for possessing child pornography.
On Jan. 14, 2010 HSI received information from the Puerto Rico Police Department regarding a complaint against Rodriguez-Rodriguez, who was charged locally for sexually molesting a male minor for the past two years.
ICE special agents executed a search warrant on Rodriguez-Rodriguez's residence Jan. 28, 2010, and arrested him when a preliminary forensic analysis of his computer revealed images depicting child pornography and the sexual exploitation of minors.
The ICE investigation also revealed that Rodriguez-Rodriguez would invite the minors to this house, offering gifts and money, and engage in sexual acts with them.
Rodriguez-Rodriguez recorded the illegal sexual conduct with the minors and stored it in his computer. Additionally, he used an electronic instant messaging service and cellular phone to contact the minors.
"This sentence is a stern reminder of the consequences awaiting those who sexually exploit innocent children," said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. "Some predators mistakenly believe that their crimes will go unnoticed because of the age of their victims; however, ICE will continue using its unique authorities to identify, arrest and prosecute those who endanger the most vulnerable segment of our society - our children."
In response to the need for an island-wide approach to fighting the escalation of predatory crimes against children, HSI San Juan partnered with members of local, state and federal law enforcement, as well as local and state government officials and community leaders, to form PRCACTF in June 2011.
Through PRCACTF, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies work together with local and state government agencies to effectively pool their resources to jointly investigate all crimes against children in Puerto Rico. Through the task force, law enforcement officers are encouraged to share evidence, ideas, and investigative and forensic tools to ensure the most successful prosecutions possible. As such, PRCACTF allows law enforcement to speak with one unified voice in defense of the children of Puerto Rico.
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.