Ice Arrests 2 Ponce Area Men On Child Exploitation Charges
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – United States Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin authorized a criminal complaint against 34 year-old William Javier Vega-Valentín, and 26 year-old Carlos Manuel Borrero-Vélez, both residents of Aristides Chavier public housing project, charging them with child pornography and child exploitation crimes, announced United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), working jointly with the Puerto Rico Police Department’s (PRPD) Ponce Sexual Crimes Division, conducted the investigation that led to the arrests.
Vega-Valentín was charged with production of child pornography, while Borrero-Vélez was charged in a separate criminal complaint with attempted production of child pornography and sexual enticement of a minor. They were arrested at their respective residences during the execution of a federal search warrant by HSI special agents. According to the charging documents, Borrero-Vélez, a.k.a. “Carlito,” and Vega-Valentín made sexually explicit approaches to a 14-year-old minor identified as “MM” and requested sexually explicit images and videos from the minor. According to the Affidavit in Support of the Criminal Complaint, Vega-Valentín works as a sports youth leader at the Aristides Chavier public housing project.
“The sexual exploitation of vulnerable individuals will not be tolerated. Our prosecutors and law enforcement partners will vigorously investigate and prosecute the abuse that these victims suffered at the hands of these offenders. The children of Puerto Rico deserve no less,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.
“Child exploitation in all its forms is a very serious crime. HSI will continue investigating and arresting those who think they can victimize our children and get away with it,” said Ricardo Mayoral, special agent in charge of HSI. “These allegations are especially disturbing given the position of trust one of these defendants occupied. Identifying people who violate their positions of trust by contributing to the exploitation of children is a top priority for HSI. Anyone who targets children for sexual exploitation should also consider themselves a target by HSI and by our law enforcement partners regardless of who they are. We have an obligation to protect those most vulnerable in our society who cannot protect themselves.”
HSI encourages the public to call the toll free number 1-800-981-3030 or (787) 729-6969 to report any information that may lead to the identification and rescue of additional victims regarding this case.
Both men are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge McGiverin today for their initial appearances, after which they will be transferred to the Guaynabo Metropolitan Detention Center awaiting their respective detention hearings.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Cristina Caraballo is prosecuting the case. If convicted defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of 15 years’ incarceration up to a maximum term of life in prison. A criminal complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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 12,000 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 2014, more than 2,300 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.
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. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. 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.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. 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.