Making Immigration Happen
Chicago Woman Arrested for Selling Fraudulent Identity Documents to Illegal Aliens
A woman was arrested Wednesday, February 13, 2013, on charges she allegedly sold fraudulent identity documents to illegal aliens. These charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigra

Tag Archives: Operation Predator

Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to International Child Predation

A western Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty Tuesday, January 15, 2013, for coercing and enticing a minor and possessing child pornography. The guilty plea is the result of an extensive investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Jeffrey W. Herschell, 54, of Washington, Pa., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge David Stewart Cercone in the Western District of Pennsylvania. According to the statement of facts entered into the record by the government, and agreed to by the defendant, Herschell sent money to the Philippines in February 2010 for a live, online sex show that included a 12-year-old minor female engaging in sexual activity. Herschell also admitted to possessing child pornography videos at his Pennsylvania residence. Herschell was previously indicted Sept. 12, 2011.

At sentencing, Herschell faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison on the coercion and enticement charge, and a maximum of 10 years in prison on the child pornography possession charge. Herschell also faces a term of supervised release of five years to life following his prison sentence. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Sentencing has been scheduled for May 28, 2013. Judge Cercone deferred acceptance of the plea agreement until Herschell’s sentencing hearing.

This case was investigated by HSI Philadelphia and HSI Manila, Philippines. HSI received significant assistance from the National Bureau of Investigation (Philippines) and the Philippine National Police.

This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

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.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

New Jersey Child Predator Sentenced to Life in Prison

A Pemberton, N.J., man was sentenced Monday, January 7, 2013, by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith to life plus 10 years in federal prison. The man was convicted in May 2012 on charges of interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual acts with a minor, aggravated sexual assault, enticement of a minor and distribution of child pornography. The man was previously convicted on three occasions in the state of New Jersey for crimes against children, including child pornography and aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of 13. The sentence is the result of an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Donald J. Jones III, 48, was arrested by HSI special agents and the Rhode Island State Police April 8, 2011, after he traveled by bus from Philadelphia to Providence, expecting to meet with an 8-year-old girl and her father.

Jones communicated for nearly three weeks via the Internet and by phone with a person he believed was the girl’s father, when in fact he was communicating with federal agents assigned to the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

“As prosecutors, we have no higher calling than to aid parents in protecting their children,” said U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, District of Rhode Island. “Accordingly, I am very pleased with the life sentenced handed down today, which ensures that a remorseless, recidivist pedophile has been brought to justice. Spending the rest of his life in prison ensures that he will never, ever harm another child.”

“Today’s life sentence demonstrates the serious consequences that await those who would sexually prey upon and exploit children,” said Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston. “Criminals with this kind of depravity in mind should know that we are ever vigilant. For every tactic taken to evade law enforcement, we will adapt our strategies to find them and prosecute them. Through our partnerships with state, local and other federal law enforcement agencies in Rhode Island, HSI will continue to police cyber space to investigate child predators and ensure that they feel the full weight of the law.”

“In addition to preventing this particular pedophile from further targeting any more children, a life sentence sends a clear message to others that may choose to follow in the same path he did,” said Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police. “I commend the prosecutors, troopers, local police and federal agents for their continued vigilance in tracking, arresting and prosecuting those who prey on our children.”

“A life sentence demonstrates the serious consequence that awaits those who sexually exploit innocent children,” said Kevin M. Niland, U.S. Postal Service inspector in charge. “The Postal Inspection Service will to continue to aggressively identify, target and arrest those who dare prey on our children.”

According to the government’s evidence presented at trial March 21, 2011, Jones posted a message on an adult Internet forum seeking a parent willing to allow him to have sex with their pre-pubescent child. The message was discovered by a postal inspector assigned to the Rhode Island ICAC who responded, posing as the father of an 8-year-old Rhode Island girl.

Jones and the agent exchanged numerous emails which evolved from the parent purporting to have an interest in allowing Jones to have sex with his daughter, to Jones at first describing and then emailing videos of child pornography in an effort to depict his intentions. They also had numerous telephone conversations, including conversations during which a female Providence Police officer posed as the young girl.

The government presented evidence to the jury that Jones purchased clothing for the young girl and mailed them to the person he believed to be her father. Jones also purchased and brought with him a nightgown and underwear for the young girl to wear.

On April 8, 2011, federal agents watched as Jones boarded a bus in Philadelphia and traveled to New York and then on to Rhode Island. Jones was arrested by federal and state law enforcement agents as he stepped off the bus in downtown Providence.

According to the State of New Jersey sex offender registry, Donald J. Jones III is a level two child sex offender, convicted in 1993 on charges of aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Both offenses were against a female under the age of 13. Jones was sentenced today to a consecutive 10 year federal prison sentence for committing a new sex offender crime while being required to register as a sex offender.

Providence Police, special agents from HSI New Jersey and the U.S. Marshals Service assisted in the investigation.

The Rhode Island ICAC is a Department of Justice grant-funded program administered by the state police, and is comprised of six state police detectives, detectives from the Providence, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick, Johnston and Pawtucket police departments, and federal officers from HSI and the United States Postal Inspectors’ Office. The objective of the ICAC is to form strong working relationships among federal, state and local law enforcement in order to effectively and efficiently prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute online child exploitation and child pornography crimes.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

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.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

ICE and HSI Send Warning to International Child Predators

American tourists, with twisted overseas travel plans to engage in child sex tourism, may think they are beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. However, they should know that it is a priority for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to apprehend and prosecute U.S. citizens who engage in sexual acts with minors in foreign countries.

Millions of American citizens travel abroad on a regular basis. While the vast majority of them are law abiding, some commit sexual crimes against minors in foreign countries. Each year, over a million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. Child sex tourism involves people who travel from their home country to another and engage in commercial sex acts with children. Child sex tourism is a shameful assault on the dignity of children and a form of child abuse and violence. For the minors involved, these acts have devastating consequences, which may include long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease, drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism and possibly death.

Tourists engaging in child sex tourism often travel to developing countries looking for anonymity and the availability of children in prostitution. The crime is typically fueled by weak local law enforcement, corruption, the Internet, ease of travel and poverty. These sexual offenders come from all socio-economic backgrounds and may hold positions of trust. Previous arrests for child sex tourism involving U.S. citizens have included: a pediatrician, a retired Army sergeant, a dentist, a Peace Corps volunteer and a university professor.

In 2003, the United States strengthened its ability to fight child sex tourism by passing the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act (PROTECT Act) and the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Reauthorization Act. These laws carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison for engaging in child sex tourism. In the nine years since these laws were strengthened, HSI special agents have arrested 93 suspects on child sex tourism charges.

“Our message is clear to all U.S. citizens: We take these crimes seriously,” said Peter Vincent, director of HSI’s Office of International Affairs. “If you dare abuse a child abroad, we will find you, send you back to the United States and prosecute you for your crimes. You might be out of the country, but you are not out of reach of U.S. law enforcement.”

HSI has 73 offices in 47 foreign countries around the world that serve as the agency’s liaison to counterparts in local government and law enforcement. HSI’s attachés abroad are critical in investigating these crimes.

Recently, Jesse Osmun, 33, a former Peace Corps volunteer, was sentenced in Hartford, Conn., to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing four girls, all under the age of 6, while he was a volunteer in South Africa. He never expected that HSI special agents would arrest him for crimes he committed nearly 8,000 miles away from his Connecticut home. HSI’s office in Connecticut– working collaboratively with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut – has had two other recent cases involving child sex tourism. Edgardo Sensi was sentenced in January to 85 years in prison for production of child pornography and sexual tourism offenses related to his sexual abuse of minor girls in the United States and Nicaragua. Douglas Perlitz was sentenced in December 2010 to nearly 20 years in prison for sexually abusing 16 minor victims over the course of a decade in Haiti.

“I am proud to partner with HSI in prosecutingU.S.citizens who abuse children abroad,” said U.S. Attorney David B. Fein, District of Connecticut. “I am hopeful that the cases we have successfully prosecuted in Connecticut will serve as a deterrent to others who would partake in these illegal acts. The Department of Justice will continue to devote resources to protecting children worldwide.”

HSI’s Child Exploitation Investigations Unit investigates the trans-border, large-scale production and distribution of images of child abuse, as well as individuals who travel abroad to engage in sex with minors. The unit employs the latest technology to collect evidence and track the activities of individuals and organized groups who sexually exploit children through the use of websites, chat rooms, newsgroups and peer-to-peer trading. These investigative activities are organized under Operation Predator, a program managed by the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit.

“If you are molesting children, I advise you to turn yourself in and get help,” added Vincent. “The law will catch up to you no matter where you are. If you continue your crimes against children, you should always be looking over your shoulder because we will hunt you down to the ends of the earth in order to protect innocent children from being violated. There will be no refuge for child sexual predators who believe that they may victimize children outside the United States. No place is too distant or too remote to escape the attention of HSI.”

Guilty Plea for Canadian Man in Child Enticement Case

Following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a Canadian man pleaded guilty Thursday, October 11, 2012, to coercion and enticement of a 14-year-old girl he met online, in violation of federal law. The Pennsylvania State Police and the University of Delaware Police Department assisted in the investigation.

David Gellad, 44, of Rosemere, Quebec, pleaded guilty at a hearing in the United States District Court, District of Delaware. Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced Gellad’s guilty plea.

According to court documents, Gellad began an online relationship with the victim in October 2010. They communicated through the victim’s iPod Touch, using Facebook, AOL Instant Messenger and FFM, a photo sharing application. Between March and June 2011, Gellad traveled from Montreal to Southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware on two occasions to meet the victim in person. In March 2011, Gellad flew from Montreal to Philadelphia International Airportand then met the victim for what she told HSI special agents was a sexual encounter in her southeastern Pennsylvania residence. In June 2011, Gellad traveled from Montreal to southeastern Pennsylvania and then drove the victim to a Marriott hotel in Newark, Del., where, she told HSI special agents, they engaged in sexual conduct.

Shortly after the June 2011 encounter in Newark, Del., the victim’s father found text messages between the two on his daughter’s iPod Touch and notified the Pennsylvania State Police. Gellad was subsequently charged with federal child exploitation crimes in June 2011. On July 23, 2011, Gellad was arrested as he attempted to re-enter the United States at the Highgate Springs Port of Entry, in Swanton, Vt. He has been in federal custody since his arrest.

“This case has exposed the unsettling behavior of an individual who believed he could cross our nation’s border to victimize children, and return home to his country without being held accountable for his actions. He was wrong,” said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. “HSI will continue to utilize its broad authorities to target those individuals that pose direct threats to our communities.”

“Once again, we see someone crossing the forbidden bright line that protects children under the age of 18,” said Oberly.” As long as there are criminal predators seeking out our children to satisfy their perverse desires, there will be appropriate prison space to house these predators for years. I especially thank the investigating agencies involved in this case and Assistant United States Attorney Ed McAndrew for their successful prosecution of this case.”

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipeline.com.

Texas Man Gets Life Sentence for Producing and International Distribution of Child Pornography

A Fort Bliss, Texas, man was sentenced to life in prison Friday, July 13, 2012, for producing and distributing child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Robert Cuff, 49, pleaded guilty in December 2011 to engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. Cuff, a command master chief in the United States Navy, was assigned as the senior enlisted advisor to the Joint Task Force North at Fort Bliss at the time of his arrest. Evidence showed he joined and participated in the Dreamboard child exploitation bulletin board while stationed at Fort Bliss.

At sentencing, the court found that not only had Cuff participated in a child exploitation enterprise, he had also engaged in a pattern of activity involving the sexual exploitation of a 5-year-old child.

Jonathan Mayer, 29, of Newport, Tenn., and Shane Micah Turner, 33, of Roy, Utah, were also sentenced in connection with their participation in the Dreamboard bulletin board. Each received a sentence of 17 ½ years in prison followed by lifetime supervised release, as a result of both defendants pleading guilty to conspiring to advertise child pornography. The sentences were handed down by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks.

United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley stated, “These defendants, and people like them, who advertise, participate, distribute or exploit children to access child pornography work hard to evade law enforcement and disguise what they are doing. Their sole purpose is to view children hurting for their own sexual satisfaction. We agree with the court’s statement that this defendant was much like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; to those who knew him in the military, he appeared to be an outstanding sailor, but as the judge stated, this defendant had a dark side involving the advertising of child pornography and the rape of a young child.

We want people who get engulfed in this type of disturbing behavior to know that they will face serious consequences for their actions. Our office will continue to vigorously prosecute this type of criminal activity to the fullest extent of the law. We want the community to know that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice, along with our federal, state and local partners, are committed to protecting children from these vile criminals.”

“Cuff and the other conspirators of the nightmare called Dreamboard mistakenly believed that they could commit unspeakable crimes against children and evade detection by law enforcement,” said Raymond R. Parmer Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New Orleans. “Criminals with this kind of depravity in mind should know that we are ever vigilant. For every tactic taken to evade law enforcement, we will adapt our strategies to find them and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.” Parmer oversees HSI activities in Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.

To date, 42 out of 72 individuals have been convicted for their participation in an international criminal network, known as Dreamboard, which was dedicated to the sexual abuse of children and the creation and dissemination of graphic images and videos of child sexual abuse throughout the world.

The charges against these defendants were a result of Operation Delego, an ongoing HSI investigation launched in December 2009 that targeted individuals around the world for their participation in Dreamboard. Dreamboard was a private, members-only, online bulletin board created and operated to promote pedophilia and encourage the sexual abuse of very young children in an environment designed to avoid law enforcement detection. Operation Delego represents the largest prosecution to date in the United States of individuals who participated in an online bulletin board conceived and operated for the sole purpose of promoting child sexual abuse, disseminating child pornography and evading law enforcement.

All 72 defendants were charged with conspiring to advertise and distribute child pornography, and 50 were also charged with engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. Out of the 72 charged defendants, 55 have been arrested in the United States and abroad. Forty-one individuals have pleaded guilty and one defendant was convicted after a four-day jury trial. Twenty-eight of the 41 individuals who pleaded guilty have been sentenced to prison and received sentences ranging from 15 years to life. Thirteen of the 72 charged individuals remain at large and are known only by their online identities. Efforts to identify and apprehend these individuals continue.

According to court documents and evidence presented at the trial of defendant John Wyss, aka “Bones,” Dreamboard members traded graphic images and videos of adults molesting children 12 years of age or younger, often violently, and collectively created a massive private library of images of child sexual abuse. The international group prized and encouraged the creation of new images and videos of child sexual abuse. Numerous Dreamboard members sexually abused children, produced images and videos of the abuse, and shared the images and videos with other members of Dreamboard.

Dreamboard members employed a variety of measures designed to conceal their criminal activity from detection by law enforcement. Members communicated using aliases or “screen names,” rather than their actual names. Links to child pornography posted on Dreamboard were required to be encrypted with a password that was shared only with other members. Members accessed the board via proxy servers, which routed internet traffic through other computers so as to disguise a user’s actual location and prevent law enforcement from tracing Internet activity. Dreamboard members also encouraged the use of encryption programs on their computers, which password-protect computer files to prevent law enforcement from accessing them in the event of a court-authorized search.

Membership was tightly controlled by the administrators of Dreamboard, who required prospective members to upload child pornography portraying children 12 years of age or younger when applying for membership. Once they were given access, members were required continually to upload images of child sexual abuse in order to maintain membership. Members who failed to follow this rule would be expelled from the group.

The bulletin board included rules of conduct, printed in English, Russian, Japanese and Spanish. The rules required prospective members to upload material depicting children under the age of 12 engaged in sexually explicit activity. Approved members were required to observe strict posting rules designed to encourage members to disseminate large quantities of child pornography, thwart efforts by law enforcement to identify members of the board, and encourage members to sexually abuse children in order to produce new material for the board. The board rules also required members to organize postings based on the type of content. One particular category was entitled “Super Hardcore.” The rules for that category described in graphic language that the only posts permitted were those involving adults having violent sexual intercourse with “very young kids” who were being subjected to both physical and sexual abuse and were obviously “in distress, and or crying.”

Operation Delego involved extensive international cooperation to identify and apprehend Dreamboard members abroad. Through coordination amongst ICE; the Department of Justice; Eurojust, the European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit; and dozens of law enforcement agencies throughout the world, 20 Dreamboard members across five continents and 14 countries have been arrested to date outside the United States, including two of the five lead administrators of the board. Those countries include Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Kenya, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland. Numerous foreign investigations related to Operation Delego remain ongoing. The location and arrest of Dreamboard members abroad have led to the capture and investigation of other global targets.

Evidence obtained during the operation revealed that at least 38 children across the world were suffering sexual abuse at the hands of the members of the group. Efforts by federal, state, local and international law enforcement to locate and identify the victims of sexual abuse and exploitation by Dreamboard members are ongoing.

The investigation was conducted by HSI, the Child Exploitation Section of ICE’s Cyber Crimes Center, CEOS, CEOS’s High Technology Investigative Unit and 35 ICE offices in the United States and 11 ICE attaches offices in 13 countries around the world, with assistance provided by numerous local and international law enforcement agencies across the United States and throughout the world.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Man Arrested for Transporting Child Pornography from Puerto Rico

A 21-year-old man from Carolina, Puerto Rico was arrested early the week ending in July 6, 2012, at his place of residence for possession and transportation of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The arrest of Armando Suazo-Vazquez stemmed from a referral by the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office in Florida stating that Suazo-Vazquez was using an Internet service provider to share child pornography through peer-to-peer networks.

“The arrest of this man should send a clear message that HSI special agents in Puerto Rico and our law enforcement partners are committed to identify, apprehend and prosecute those who exploit our children” said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “HSI will continue working with our local, state and federal partners in an effort to protect our children from online predators.”

According to the criminal complaint, on or about June 17, Suazo-Vazquez knowingly transported child pornography in a computer that he brought to Puerto Rico from Florida.

HSI special agents in Puerto Rico executed a search warrant at Suzo-Vazquez’s residence in Carolina and seized a computer containing visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

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 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.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suazo-Vazquez faces a possible mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, and a possible statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in prison per count.

El Salvador National Charged for Sex Trafficking

An illegal alien from El Salvador was charged Wednesday, May 30, 2012, for child sex trafficking in four Kentucky counties, announced David J. Hale, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. The indictment resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Kentucky State Police.

Adulfo De Aquino-Cancino, 28, is charged with the following crimes: conspiring to recruit, entice, harbor and transport two juveniles to engage in commercial sex acts; aiding and abetting in sex trafficking juveniles; and attempting to persuade, induce, entice and coerce a juvenile to engage in prostitution. De Aquino-Cancino was indicted May 16 by a grand jury in Bowling Green.

According to an affidavit filed by an HSI special agent, between August 2011 and January
2012, De Aquino-Cancino recruited females and arranged for commercial sexual encounters; he transported them, and benefited financially from commercial sex  transactions involving two minor females and several adult females in Green, Taylor, Adair and Barren counties in the Western District of Kentucky.

On Jan.19, De Aquino-Cancino was interviewed by a Kentucky State Police detective.
De Aquino-Cancino allegedly stated that he knew several girls in the Campbellsville, Ky.,
area who were prostitutes. He further stated that he travelled to Campbellsville, picked up the prostitutes, and took them to different locations where they performed commercial sex acts with the defendant’s friends. The prostitutes in turn paid De Aquino-Cancino for driving them to the locations. De Aquino-Cancino allegedly identified the two juveniles and affirmed that he knew what he was doing with these young girls was illegal. Following this interview, De Aquino-Cancino was arrested by Kentucky State Police.

If convicted, De Aquino-Cancino faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years
imprisonment and a maximum of life in prison, a $500,000 fine, and up to a lifetime of supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua D. Judd, Western District of Kentucky, is prosecuting the
case. A grand jury indictment is an accusation only; the accused is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are 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 www.cybertipline.com.

Final Sex Tourism Defendant Sentenced, Operation Traverse a Success

The fourth and final defendant in an undercover sex tourism sting was sentenced Thursday, February 16, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Jonathan Waltman, 26, from Nashport, Ohio, was sentenced to nearly 25 years in prison after previously pleading guilty to attempting to transport an individual in foreign commerce to engage in prostitution and attempting to travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

The sentence was announced by Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the
Northern District of Ohio, and Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge, HSI
Michigan and Ohio.

Waltman is the fourth and final person sentenced as part of Operation Traverse, an undercover sex tourism investigation.

“The details that emerged from this investigation are chilling and should serve as a caution for parents everywhere,” Dettelbach said. “These convictions help keep children safe, both children here and around the world.”

“All of the individuals sentenced in this case attempted to sexually exploit children but found that there is a strong barrier that exists between predators and children: law enforcement,” Moskowitz said. “I would like to commend the exceptional work of a very dedicated team of special agents, prosecutors and support staff to continue to stand on the front lines to protect children from predators.”

Other sentences previously handed out include: Zachery Casey, 39, of Millersburg, Ohio,
sentenced to 20 years in prison; Peter Beichl, 50, of Albstadt, Germany, sentenced to 17 years in prison; Otto Linzenbach, 63, of Leipzig,  Germany, sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Waltman knowingly attempted and conspired to transport an individual who had not attained the age of 18 years, that is an 8 year-old girl, in foreign commerce, from Canada to the State of Michigan, with the intent that such 8 year-old girl engage in prostitution and sexual activity for which Waltman could be charged with a criminal offense, according to court documents.

In addition, Waltman knowingly attempted to travel in interstate commerce, from Ohio to Michigan, for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with an 8 year-old girl.

The conduct took place between June 15, 2010 and July 25, 2010, according to court documents.

This case was prosecuted by Northern District of Ohio Assistant United States Attorney Michael A. Sullivan.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. The public is encouraged to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through the toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. Both are 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.

Fresno Man Arrested for Federal Child Pornography Charges

A 47-year-old Madera man made his initial appearance in federal court Wednesday, February 15, following his arrest on child pornography charges by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Lewis Gaudinier, 47, of Madera, Calif., was taken into custody the afternoon of February 14 based on a criminal complaint charging him with receipt of child pornography. Gaudinier remains in custody and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe at 1:30 p.m. on February 15. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy R. Jehangiri.

Gaudinier originally came under suspicion after HSI special agents and investigators assigned to the Central California Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, determined that a computer traced to Gaudinier’s residence was receiving images of child
pornography via peer-to-peer software. According to the criminal complaint, the
alleged illegal activity took place from approximately Dec. 24, 2011, through Feb. 4.

As part of the probe, task force investigators executed a state search warrant at Gaudinier’s Madera residence. A forensic analysis of the computer found in Gaudinier’s home revealed at least 1,000 image and video files of child pornography. Those files primarily showed girls, ranging from approximately 3 to 14 years of age, posed in sexually explicit positions and engaging in sex acts.

“Every time these compromising images and videos are viewed, the children in them are victimized again,” said Paul Leonardi, resident agent in charge of HSI Fresno.
“Children have the right to be safe from Internet predators. That is why HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement counterparts to vigorously investigate these cases and seek justice for the innocent victims.”

Receiving material involving the sexual exploitation of minors carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison. The charges in the complaint are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation is part of HSI’s Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children, and Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a Department of Justice effort launched in May 2006 to combat the growing
epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

As part of Operation Predator, HSI is encouraging the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. 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.