Two Individuals Arrested For Child Pornography
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico —U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, and officers assigned to the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF) arrested Victor Vega-Rodríguez, 21, of the municipality of Arroyo, and Kermet Cuebas-Crespo, 21, of Mayagüez, on two different criminal complaints for child pornography, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.
On July 16, HSI received information from PRPD regarding a complaint filed against Vega-Rodríguez alleging that he used his Facebook account to entice, coerce and induce two female minors identified as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 to engage in sexually explicit conduct and that he allegedly transported them to his home to engage in sexual criminal acts. The information provided by PRPD led to an HSI investigation that resulted in the arrest of Vega-Rodríguez.
According to the charges, a relative of Jane Doe 1 filed a complaint with the PRPD. The complaint was regarding the kidnapping of Jane Doe 1. PRPD officers rescued the minor at Vega-Rodríguez’s residence located in Arroyo, Puerto Rico. The second victim, another 14 year old female minor, was picked up by the defendant at her school in February of this year. According to the charges they engaged in multiple sexual acts.
In a separate case yesterday, HSI agents arrested Kermet Cuebas-Crespo, for possession of child pornography. The HSI investigation that led to Cuebas-Crespo’s arrest stemmed from a referral from the National Center for the Missing and Exploited Children.
Vega-Rodríguez faces a sentence of 15 years to life in prison while Cuebas-Crespo faces a sentence of five years in prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke Cass is prosecuting both cases.
“Criminals with this kind of depravity in mind should know that law enforcement agencies in Puerto Rico are always vigilant. For every tactic taken to evade the law, we will adapt our strategies to find them and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” said US Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “The U.S. Department of Justice, through its Project Safe Childhood, will continue prosecuting sexual predators of minors.”
“The sexual exploitation of children is perhaps one of the most heinous crimes there are and HSI will continue to fight it, said Ángel M. Meléndez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “With the alarming increase of these cases on the island HSI is committed to continue working with our PRCACTF partners to bring those who exploit our children to justice.”
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.
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, 1-800-843-5678.