More than 6,000 predators
who target children have been arrested since the July 2003
launch of Operation Predator by U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE), the agency announced in a July 19 press
The initiative has also led to the arrests
of about 1,000 suspects overseas after U.S. officials shared
information with foreign authorities about their investigations
into international sex tourism, Internet child pornography
and human trafficking.
About 85 percent of the arrests have involved
foreign nationals who have been convicted of child sex crimes.
Their criminal activity makes them ineligible to maintain
legal status in the United States after they have served
prison sentences for their crimes. More than 2,100 have
Operation Predator also conducted one of
the largest Internet child pornography cases ever pursued,
resulting in arrests in the United States and overseas.
The case focused on a Belarus-based company and affiliates
that operated and processed credit card payments for 50
child-pornography Web sites.
Megan’s Law has been a key tool in
ICE’s domestic arrests. This 1996 law directs states
to establish systems for registering convicted sex offenders
and notifying communities of their presence. The law is
named for a young girl killed by a child predator with two
Additional information is available on the
ICE Web site.
The text of the ICE press release follows:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
July 19, 2005
OPERATION PREDATOR NETS MORE THAN 6,000
AND 1,000 OVERSEAS ARRESTS IN ITS FIRST
-- ICE is arresting an average of 250 child
sex predators per month under the initiative --
WASHINGTON, DC - Homeland Security Secretary
Michael Chertoff and Michael J. Garcia, Homeland Security
Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE), today announced the two-year results of Operation
Predator, ICE's comprehensive initiative to safeguard children
from foreign national pedophiles, international sex tourists,
Internet child pornographers, and human traffickers.
Since Operation Predator began on July 9,
2003, the initiative has resulted in 6,085 child predator
arrests throughout the country - an average of roughly 250
arrests per month and eight arrests per day. While arrests
have been made in every state, the most have occurred in
the following locations: Arizona (207), California (1578),
Florida (255), Illinois (282), Michigan (153), Minnesota
(190), New Jersey (423), New York (367), Oregon (148) and
Operation Predator also has an important
international component, as leads developed by domestic
ICE offices are shared with ICE Attaché offices overseas
and foreign law enforcement for action. To date, leads shared
by ICE with foreign authorities have resulted in the arrest
of roughly 1,000 individuals overseas.
Operation Predator targets four different
types of violators:
1) Criminal Alien Child Sex Predators: Operation
Predator evolved out of ICE's mission to find and deport
illegal aliens, particularly those with criminal records.
The majority of the arrests under Operation Predator - roughly
85% - have involved foreign nationals in this country whose
child sex crimes make them removable from the United States.
By matching immigration databases with state Megan's law
directories, ICE agents have identified and arrested more
than 1,800 registered sex offenders.
"With an average of nearly 250 child
sex predator arrests per month, ICE's Operation Predator
has emerged as one of most successful efforts ever launched
to protect America's children," said Secretary Chertoff.
"In enforcing the nation's immigration laws, ICE is
systematically targeting those who pose the greatest threats,
including criminal aliens who prey on our children."
Some recent ICE arrests involving criminal
aliens who committed child sex crimes include Julio Cesar
Rabago-Magana, a Mexican man who raped a four-year-old child
in the basement of Mercado Central in Minneapolis, Minn.
Rabago-Magana pleaded guilty Oct. 23, 2002 to first-degree
criminal sexual conduct. After serving his criminal sentence,
he was arrested by ICE agents at his St. Paul home on March
3, 2005, and deported six days later. Also arrested was
a Ukrainian man living in Solon, Ohio who inappropriately
touched a 13-year-old mentally disabled child. Arrested
on Feb. 15, 2005, the 68-year-old remains in ICE custody
while his deportation proceedings continue.
To date, more than 2,100 of these foreign-born
predators have been removed from the United States to their
home nations. As part of this process, ICE advises the host
nation governments about the criminal histories of each
sex predator it is deporting to their nations. ICE also
issues Green Notices through Interpol in appropriate cases.
The Green Notice provides information on career criminals
who have committed, or are likely to commit, offenses in
2) Internet Child Pornographers: Drawing
on its cyber crime investigative expertise and assets such
as the ICE Cyber Crimes Center, ICE is targeting those U.S.
citizens and foreign nationals who possess, manufacture
or distribute child pornography via the Internet.
"Possessing child pornography is a
crime; but when those images of abuse are found in the hands
of teachers, camp counselors, coaches and clerics, uncovering
that crime becomes more urgent," said Assistant Secretary
Garcia. "Investigations of those persons who hold positions
of trust in the community and trade in these despicable
images will remain a priority for this agency."
In one of the largest Internet child pornography
cases ever conducted, ICE targeted a Belarus-based company
and its affiliates that operated and processed credit card
payments for 50 child pornography websites. To date, this
case has resulted in 236 arrests in the United States and
more than 1,000 arrests by foreign authorities acting on
ICE leads. Those arrested include elementary school teachers,
coaches, ministers, camp counselors, pediatricians, circus
clowns, Boy Scout leaders, police officers, firefighters
and others with direct access to children. Four principals
of the Belarus-based company have pleaded guilty in the
Utilizing ICE's forensic expertise, the
Cyber Crime Center (C3) also operates the National Child
Victim Identification System. In partnership with the National
Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and
other federal and local law enforcement partners, agents
have authenticated more than 2,100 images of children in
pornographic images. These authentications provide critical
evidence to ensure successful prosecution of the traders
and producers of child pornography, and assist in the identification
of child pornography victims.
3) International Child Sex Tourists: Working
cooperatively with foreign governments through ICE's Attaché
offices worldwide, ICE agents investigate American citizens
who travel abroad to engage in sex with minors. ICE is also
targeting individuals who come to this country to engage
in sex with minors.
Thus far, ICE agents have made 14 arrests
under the new child sex tourism provisions of the PROTECT
In one case, 85 year-old John Seljan was
sentenced in March 2005 to 20 years in prison. Seljan was
arrested in Los Angeles as he attempted to board a flight
to the Philippines, where he allegedly intended to have
sex with two Philippine girls ages 9 and 12. At the time
of his arrest, Seljan was found to have pornographic materials,
sexual aids, and nearly 100 pounds of chocolates in his
luggage, as well as currency.
4) Child Traffickers & Smugglers: The
criminal networks engaged in human smuggling and trafficking
activities have become more violent and profit-driven than
ever. At the same time, the victims of these organizations
are often defenseless children and juveniles. Through long-term
criminal investigations, ICE is aggressively targeting those
organizations that traffic and exploit young people for
In one of the largest sex trafficking cases
ever brought under the Trafficking and Victims Protection
Act, three Mexican men pleaded guilty in New York in April
2005 to forcing young Mexican women to work as prostitutes
in brothels throughout the New York metropolitan area. The
young women were subject to routine physical assaults and
threats to force them to commit acts of prostitution. Three
other members of the Carreto organization have pleaded guilty
and two additional defendants have been indicted in the
To enhance all these efforts to protect
children, ICE has formed partnerships with several non-governmental
organizations, including NCMEC and World Vision's child
sex tourism prevention project, to provide prevention and
deterrence information to the public. ICE plans to expand
these partnerships in the coming year.
Members of the public wishing to report
suspicious activity may contact ICE at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or
mail to: Operation.Predator@dhs.gov.
Additionally, NCMEC can be contacted at 1-800-843-5678 or
Additional information about the operation is posted at
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department
of Homeland Security, responsible for the enforcement of
border, economic, infrastructure and transportation security
laws. ICE seeks to prevent acts of terrorism by targeting
the people, money and materials that support terrorist and
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