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Child Exploitation

Puerto Rican man pleads guilty to 109 counts of production and possession of child pornography

SAN JUAN, P.R. — A 34-year-old man pleaded guilty on Friday to 108 counts of production and one count of possession of child pornography following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF).

On Aug. 9, agents from the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), a member of the PRCACTF, arrested Agustin Rodriguez-Rodriguez, of Ponce, Puerto Rico, on charges of sexual abuse against a minor and immediately referred the case to ICE HSI for further investigation into images and videos depicting the suspected abuse.

The ICE HSI investigation led to the Aug. 19 indictment of Rodriguez-Rodriguez charging him with coercing three female minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct, including the lascivious exhibition of the genital areas, for the purpose of producing still images and videos.

"HSI works closely with local law enforcement to target individuals who are engaging in child pornography crimes and those who, in any way, exploit our children," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in San Juan. "ICE will continue to work closely with its law enforcement and other partners in the recently created Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force to target those who produce, transport or possess child pornography to see that they are brought to justice."

This case stands as one of the largest production of child pornography cases in the District of Puerto Rico.

Through the ICE HSI-led PRCACTF, federal, local and state law enforcement agencies work together with state and local government agencies to effectively pool their resources to jointly investigate crimes against children in Puerto Rico. Through the task force, law enforcement agents are encouraged to share evidence, ideas, and investigative and forensic tools to ensure the most successful prosecutions possible. As such, the PRCACTF allows law enforcement to speak with one unified voice in defense of the children of Puerto Rico. The task force is composed of ICE HSI, U.S. Attorney's Office, U.S. Marshal Service, PRPD, San Juan Police Department, Puerto Rico Forensic Science Institute, and the Puerto Rico Departments of Justice, Education, Consumer Affairs, Family, and Treasury.

This case is also part of Operation Predator, an ICE-led 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. Individuals with information about suspected child predators are encouraged to call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or report tips online.

Rodriguez-Rodriguez is scheduled for a hearing sentence on April 18. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison per count and a possible maximum sentence of 30 years per count.