SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – In the first sexual extortion – or "sextortion" – case ever prosecuted in the District of Puerto Rico, a man charged with coercing female minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct was charged by a grand jury with 26 additional counts of production of child pornography, announced US Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Juan and Colorado and the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF) conducted the investigation that led to these subsequent charges.
On June 4, 2013, HSI special agents arrested Jimmy Caraballo-Colón, 25, at his place of residence, after an investigation that began in Colorado revealed he was blackmailing or “sextorting” a 17-year-old female from Colorado that he met in an anonymous Internet video chat website.
Caraballo-Colón offered the minor "game points" for removing her clothes. He then proceeded to blackmail the minor by threatening to post the nude recording on the Internet if she did not provide personal information such as her phone number, e-mail, Skype address and Facebook account information. Despite the fact that the minor complied with Caraballo-Colón’s request, the sextortion escalated as he demanded more sexually explicit acts during video chats, which he also recorded. Caraballo was then charged with 32 counts of production and one count each of possession and transportation of child pornography.
On Wednesday, January 15, 2014, a grand jury sitting in the District of Puerto Rico charged Caraballo-Colón with 26 additional charges of production of child pornography. According to the superseding indictment Caraballo-Colón induced, enticed and coerced female minors, identified as Jane Doe 1 through Jane Doe 58, with the intent that such minors engage in sexually explicit conduct to include the lascivious depiction of such conduct through videos that he allegedly used to sexually extort his victims. The 58 victims identified so far in the investigation are from several states: California, Texas, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Vermont and New York; as well as foreign countries such as Australia, Canada and Finland.
“Predators, often disguised as peers and responsible adults, groom and befriend unsuspecting and innocent child victims to perform sexually explicit acts.” said United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “This superseding indictment is a strong and clear message to predators and criminals that we will not accept tolerate this conduct ways, and will hunt them down to make sure they face justice and respond for their criminal behavior. The Federal Law Enforcement Community and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will spare no resources to arrest and prosecute these predators. Nonetheless, the community, teachers and parents must be vigilant and proactive with our children and educate them on the modus operandi of these offenders.”
“Child exploitation, in all its forms, must be among the most heinous crimes a person can commit, but when the element of sexual extortion or – sextortion – is part of this unspeakable abuse, the aberration is even more nauseating and the emotional pain inflicted on the victim is just overwhelming and hard to endure,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “Make no doubt, HSI will continue utilizing all its resources and, along with our federal, state and local partners, will continue identifying those who victimize the most vulnerable segment of our society – our children.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elba Gorbea.
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 conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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-THE-LOST.