Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dominican Republic Native Arrested for Production of Child Pornography

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents arrested a Dominican Republic citizen at his place of residence in San Juan Friday, April 13, for production of child pornography.

The criminal complaint that led to the arrest of Victor M. Rivera-Morales, 41, aka El Domi, alleges he requested a 15-year-old female send him naked photos of herself via text messages. According to the minor, Rivera-Morales harassed her on a daily basis requesting naked photos. In order to stop the harassment, she took pictures of herself and sent them by text to the Rivera-Morales. Thereafter, rather than ceasing the harassment, Rivera-Morales continued requesting more photos.

"The increase in the number of cases involving child pornography and sexual enticement in our jurisdiction is alarming," said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. "Those involved in this despicable crime should know that HSI will pursue them, and we will not rest until they are brought to justice."

Rivera-Morales' wife discovered the photos on his cell phone and recognized the female in the pictures. She showed the pictures to the minor's mother, who filed a complaint with the Puerto Rico Police Department. Subsequently, the investigation was referred to HSI.

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 the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF) in June 2011.

Through the PRCACTF, federal, local and state law enforcement agencies work together with state and local government agencies to effectively pool their resources to jointly investigate all crimes against children in Puerto Rico. Through the task force, law enforcement agents are encouraged to share evidence, ideas and share investigative and forensic tools to ensure the most successful prosecutions possible. As such, the PRCACTF allows law enforcement to speak with one unified voice in defense of the children of Puerto Rico.

Rivera-Morales faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, and a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in prison per count.

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