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Child Exploitation

U.S. Army soldier arrested for producing, possessing child pornography

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A U.S. Army Reserve soldier, who was assigned as an assistant to a U.S. Army chaplain, was arrested Monday on child pornography charges, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD).

ICE HSI received information on March 18 from PRPD's Sexual Crimes Division regarding an investigation of lascivious acts against a 7-year-old minor. According to the criminal complaint, the mother of the alleged victim reported to PRPD that Nicolas Gonzalez-Figueroa, 59, had allegedly committed lascivious acts against her daughter. She made the accusation after she discovered child pornography images in an electronic data storage device she had borrowed from Gonzalez-Figueroa. An analysis of the device by ICE HSI revealed 104 images of virtual child pornography portraying the sexual abuse of prepubescent minors.

Later that same day, ICE HSI special agents executed a search warrant at Gonzalez-Figueroa's residence in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. They seized 48 items, including laptop and desktop computers, external hard drives, electronic media storage devices, cellular phones, DVDs and CDs, which revealed the presence of child pornography images and videos. Upon closer examination of the images found on some of the devices, it was discovered that Gonzalez-Figueroa had actually produced some of the images of child pornography.

"These very serious allegations demonstrate that ICE HSI uses our robust investigative authorities to identify and apprehend those who prey on the most vulnerable segment of our society," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in San Juan. "Anyone who mistakenly thinks that they can get away with this despicable crime must know that our ICE HSI agents are determined to bring these predators to justice."

"Each year, far too many children fall prey to sexual predators and all too often, these heinous acts are recorded in photographs and on video and released on the Internet," said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez for the District of Puerto Rico. "Our office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to prosecute these criminals and to protect these children from further victimization."

This case was investigated under Operation Predator, an ICE 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.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators by calling at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. For more information, visit www.ice.gov.