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Press Release

Individual Sentenced to 293 Months in Prison for Sexual Exploitation of Minors Via the Internet and Social Media Applications

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Today, United States District Court Senior Judge Francisco A. Besosa sentenced Wilberto Ramos-Candelaria to 24 years and 5 months in prison followed by 15 years of supervised release for production of child pornography and for soliciting and receiving the child exploitation material via the internet and social media applications. Ramos-Candelaria was charged in a federal Superseding Indictment on August 14, 2020 and plead guilty on September 30, 2022.

According to court documents, from May 2017 to August 2019, Wilberto Ramos-Candelaria, used, induced, enticed, and coerced 12 identified female minors, ranging from 12 to 16 years of age, to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct. The defendant communicated in a sexually explicit manner with the female minors via a profile in Instagram and solicited and received the sexually explicit images from the female victims via chats. Defendant used those images to further demand and coerce the male minors to send more explicit images under the threat of publicizing the images in social media if the minors did not comply.

Enticing and coercing minors to send sexually explicit images of themselves is a serious federal offense. The production of child pornography material has a statutory minimum sentence of 15 years of imprisonment and the coercion and enticement of minors via the internet and social media applications to engage in illegal sexual conduct, which includes the production of the sexually explicit images, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years of imprisonment up to life.

The Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force investigated the case.

“Our children, who are the most vulnerable and innocent in our society, deserve every measure of protection we can give them,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “As this prosecution shows, we will use every tool we have to investigate and prosecute all child exploitation criminals.”

“This sentencing highlights the hard work of Law Enforcement Officers assigned to the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Rebecca C. González-Ramos “We are vigilant and will bring to justice those that harm one of the most vulnerable section of our society.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity by contacting HSI at 787-729-6969; through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE; or by completing its online tip form.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenifer Hernández-Vega, Chief of the Child Exploitation and Immigration Unit, prosecuted the case.


Updated February 17, 2023

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