Cucuta, Colombia - A 23-year-old Colombian predator who allegedly coerced 50 children to videotape and photograph themselves performing sexual acts was arrested here Friday by an international team of officers and special agents.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Attaché Office in Colombia and the Colombian National Police's Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit (TCIU) conducted the investigation that led to the arrest of Javier Orlando Palencia-Murillo.
Palencia-Murillo allegedly used social media to recruit and coerce his victims into sending him pornographic images. His victims were all males between the ages of 10 and 16.
"Predators who think they can hide behind the anonymity of cyberspace are sorely mistaken," said HSI Bogota Attaché Luis Sierra. "The law enforcement community in Colombia and the U.S. is committed to identifying the monsters who prey on our innocent children."
The Colombian Attorney General's Office is handling the prosecution of the case. Palencia-Murillo is charged with the production, possession and distribution of child pornography. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.
This investigation was launched following a tip from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators.
Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line 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.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone or visit the online suspect alerts page.
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.
Through ICE's Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Department of State, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has 67 attaché offices in 48 countries around the world. HSI special agents work closely with foreign law enforcement agencies and through a robust network of specialized, vetted units known as Transnational Criminal Investigative Units.