Of the 61 victims identified during Operation iGuardian: four were under the age of 3, five were ages 4 to 6; 13 were ages 7 to 9; 10 were ages 10 to 12; 23 were ages 13 to 15; and six were ages 16 to 17. Forty-two were female and 19 were male.
HSI special agents in Michigan arrested the following during the operation:
On May 29, 2013, Ronald Mabee of Hopkins, Mich., was taken into custody by HSI special agents in Grand Rapids, Mich. Mabee had been indicted in the Western District of Michigan for distribution, attempted receipt and possession of child pornography.
On June 6, 2013, HSI special agents in Detroit arrested Anthony Lucido of Chesterfield, Mich., on charges of receipt and possession of child pornography.
On June 11, 2013, HSI special agents arrested Christopher Sweedyk of Wyoming, Mich., for distribution, receipt and possession of child pornography.
Twenty-four of the 61 victims identified during the Operation iGuardian were engaging online with strangers who exploited them. Their ages ranged from 7 to 17, the majority aged 13 to 15 years old. Investigators point to three significant arrests made during Operation iGuardian. In each case, HSI is asking that anyone with additional information about potential victims come forward:
· Jimmy Caraballo-Colon, 25, a former high school cheerleading coach and athlete, was arrested June 4 in Puerto Rico by the HSI Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF) after it was discovered by police in Colorado that he was blackmailing a 17-year-old girl he met online in an anonymous Internet video chat website. Through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, investigators identified a second victim, a 15-year-old girl in California. Further investigation led to another 15-year-old girl in the Netherlands, and leads are currently being pursued regarding two 15 and 16-year-old girls in Australia. There are more than 80 potential victims who remain unidentified.
· John David Boyle, 49, a former middle school teacher from Glendora, Calif., was arrested June 5, during an undercover sting operation in his classroom, by HSI Los Angeles and the multi-agency ICAC. Boyle has been indicted and charged with enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity over the Internet. He has also been charged with advertisement of online child pornography, as well as distribution, receipt and attempted receipt and possession of child pornography. Believing the undercover investigator shared his sexual interest in young boys, Boyle allegedly set up an in-person meeting in his middle school classroom for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity while watching child pornography. Investigators have identified a 14-year-old boy who was a victim of sexual contact with the defendant and believe that there are additional victims in this ongoing case.
· Eduardo Arturo Romero Barrios, a Mexican national, 33, was arrested June 26, by the Mexican Attorney General's Office with the assistance of the Mexican Federal Police in Monterrey, Mexico. The arrest followed a lead by HSI Mexico City and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children from a social media provider about a user who was pretending to be a young teenage girl in order to elicit provocative images from minors via the social networking site. Romero Barrios was then extorting the minors to provide more sexually explicit material by threatening to expose the images he had acquired from them throughout the Internet. Investigators – with the assistance of HSI Little Rock and the Arkansas Area 4 ICAC – have identified two victims, boys ages 11 and 13 in Arkansas, and are pursuing leads into at least three other children: a 10-year old Kentucky girl, and two others in Australia and the Ukraine. Investigators believe there are other potential victims who Barrios may have exploited.
"We are very thankful for the priority that Director Morton and ICE have made in protecting our country's most vulnerable victims, and we are proud of the assistance that NCMEC provides law enforcement as they investigate child sexual exploitation cases," said John Ryan, CEO of The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. "The sad truth is, there are many more child victims of sexual exploitation out there who have not yet been rescued and are still suffering. We know that there's more work to be done so that all child victims receive the help they deserve."
In fiscal year 2013 to date, 1,660 child predators have been arrested by HSI on criminal charges related to the online sexual exploitation of children. In 2012, 1,655 child predators were arrested, 1,335 were arrested in 2011, and 912 were arrested in 2010. Since 2003, HSI has initiated more than 29,000 cases and arrested more than 10,000 individuals for these types of crimes.
During the announcement of Operation iGuardian, HSI also discussed plans to launch an educational awareness program in conjunction with ICACs and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's Netsmartz. That program, called Project iGuardian, is being designed to reach children, parents and teachers and share information about the dangers of online environments, how to stay safe online and how to report abuse and suspicious activity.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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-THE-LOST.
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