PURVIS, Miss.- A Mexican national convicted of fondling a minor was arrested in February 2010 at the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office Adult Detention Centerby officers assigned to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO).
Marcos Hernandez-Duran, 22, was arrested by DRO officers assigned to Criminal Alien Operations, which involves the screening and identification of criminal aliens. Based on his criminal history, Hernandez will be held without an immigration bond and processed for removal proceedings before an immigration judge.
Hernandez was unable to provide specific information regarding where and when he illegally entered the United States, ultimately ending up in Lamar County, Mississippi. On March 30, 2009, Lamar County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Hernandez for statutory rape. Hernandez pleaded guilty to the amended charge of fondling on February 2, 2010, and was sentenced to serve five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
“Too many children are victimized by predators that target the most vulnerable among us – our children,” said Philip Miller, Field Office Director for ICE’s Office of Detention and Removal (DRO) inNew Orleans. “ICE is committed to apprehending and presenting for prosecution cases involving those who abuse our children and endanger their lives and well-being. We will continue working with federal, state and local agencies to ensure that those who try to hurt children are brought to justice.”
This case was part of Operation Predator, which is a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested almost 12,000 individuals.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.