Broward Resident Pleads Guilty to Traveling to Colombia to Engage in Sexual Activity with Minors
Dennis De Jesus, 46, of Fort Lauderdale, pled guilty to traveling to Colombia in order to engage in illicit sexual activity with two persons under the age of eighteen, enticing the minors to engage in sexual activity, and knowingly possessing a visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Miami Office, and Luis Sierra, Country Attaché HSI Andean Region, Colombia, made the announcement.
According to court documents and statements made in court, the ICE-HSI’s Attaché Office in Colombia and the Colombian Attorney General’s Technical Investigative Corps Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit (CTI TCIU) conducted an undercover operation into a sex trafficking ring that was suspected of exploiting minors in Colombia.
In September 2014, HSI in Bogotá, Colombia received information that Dennis De Jesus intended to travel, the following month, from the United States to Colombia in order to engage in sexual activity with minors.
In an effort to further the investigation, a confidential source working with law enforcement created an undercover account on a social media internet networking site. De Jesus became a social media friend of the confidential source utilizing the account. During the course of their internet communications, De Jesus discussed his plans to travel to Colombia in order to engage in illicit sexual activity with minors in Colombia.
On October 11, 2014, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at De Jesus’s home in North Lauderdale, Florida. During the search, agents discovered a computer in De Jesus’s bedroom, in addition to various costumes and masks. A forensic analysis of the computer recovered videos depicted De Jesus with minors wearing costumes and masks. At least one of the recovered videos showed two minors engaging in sexual acts.
Law enforcement also recovered De Jesus’ cellular telephone. The telephone contained text messages between De Jesus, the undercover officer and two minors. In the messages, De Jesus stated that he intended to return to Colombia in order to have a private party with minor females engaged in the sex tourism trade. De Jesus also referenced his previous trip to Colombia, during which time he and a minor engaged in illicit sexual acts. Using his cellular telephone, De Jesus sent photographs of the costumes and presents he intended to give the minors in exchange for the sexual acts.
The investigation further revealed that De Jesus had traveled to Medellin, Colombia in June 2013 and engaged in illicit sexual conduct with minor females.
De Jesus is scheduled to be sentenced on June 30, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. by U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn. At sentencing, De Jesus faces a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison up to a statutory maximum term of life in prison. \
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of HSI (Miami and Bogota), United States Customs and Border Protection, Department of Justice, Judicial Attaché’s Office in Bogota, Colombia, Broward Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, CTI TCIU, Colombian Navy, Colombian Army Special Forces, and Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Francis Viamontes and Jodi Anton.