Father And Son Sentenced To Federal Prison For Scheme To Transport A Minor Child Between Croatia And Florida For The Purpose Of Engaging In Illicit Sexual Conduct
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez-Covington has sentenced Jordan Jysae Pulido (27, Trinity) to 10 years in federal prison, and his father, Roberto Santana Jimenez (62, Trinity) to 20 years in federal prison for child exploitation offenses. The Court also ordered both men to serve a lifetime term of supervised release, register as sex offenders, pay restitution in the amount of $2,715, and forfeit electronic devices that were used in the commission of their offenses.
On October 28, 2021, a federal jury found Pulido guilty of enticement and coercion of minor, traveling out of the country to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and transporting a minor into the country to engage in sexual activity. The jury also found both Pulido and Jimenez guilty of conspiracy to transport a minor into the country to engage in sexual activity.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, then 23-year-old Pulido met a 14-year-old child who resided in and is a citizen of Croatia on a social networking website in 2017. Pulido began a teacher-student relationship with the child and promised to teach the child to play the guitar. After a few months of guitar lessons, however, Pulido began to romantically pursue the child. For nearly a year, Pulido used the internet to entice and coerce this child to engage in sexual activity with him. During this time, Pulido and Jimenez planned Pulido’s trip to Croatia and Pulido sought Jimenez’s advice and counsel on how to persuade the child to engage in sexual activity when he traveled to Croatia. Jimenez coached Pulido on what to do and say to the child and directly communicated with the child about her sexual relationship with Pulido. Jimenez falsely portrayed himself as a medical doctor and provided advice and counsel to the child about her fertility and precautions to take to avoid pregnancy.
On June 14, 2018, Pulido traveled from Florida to Croatia, proposed to the child on her 15th birthday, and engaged in sexual activity with the child. In the month that followed, Pulido and Jimenez conspired to transport the child from Croatia to Florida, again so that Pulido could engage in sexual activity with her. On or about July 23, 2018, Pulido did in fact transport the child from Croatia to Florida for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. Once in Florida, Jimenez took the child’s passport and identification documents and refused to allow the child to travel back to Croatia with her family. Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement rescued the child from the Pulido/Jimenez family home in Trinity, Florida on August 12, 2018.
“A child victim was rescued from these predators, and we hope this sentencing provides some closure on the path to recovery for them,” said HSI Tampa acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Westlove. “This case would not have been possible without the local and international law enforcement partnerships between HSI, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, the Koprivnica-Križevac County Police Administration of the Republic of Croatia Ministry of the Interior Criminal Police, the International Criminal Police Organization and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.”
FDLE Tampa Special Agent in Charge Mark Brutnell said, “This case highlights the ability and compassion of our FDLE agents. What began as a routine welfare check soon escalated. Picking up on subtle signs, our agent knew something wasn’t right, and, by quickly gaining the victim’s trust, he was able to rescue this child from sexual abuse.”
This case was investigated by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, the Koprivnica-Križevac County Police Administration of the Republic of Croatia Ministry of the Interior Criminal Police, and the International Police Organization. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa M. Thelwell.
This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the 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, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.