SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Following a referral by the Toa Alta Municipal Police, a woman of this locality and her partner were arrested Tuesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for production of child pornography. Both arrests were executed without incident.
HSI special agents arrested Veronica Calderon-Velez, 36, of Toa Alta, and Jose A. Ayala-Cedeño, 56, of Bayamon, after a joint ICE HSI and Toa Alta Municipal Police investigation revealed that in or about January 2017 through in or about March 2018, Ayala-Cedeño requested that Calderon-Velez produce sexually explicit images and videos of two female minors identified as Minor Female #1 and Minor Female #2.
“Child pornography indelibly victimizes our kids,” said Orlando Baez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “It is a permanent record of the sexual abuse of children, many of whom are very, very young. It is shocking that often times an adult close the victim or a family member is the author of the trauma these kids endure – both physical and emotional trauma from the sexual abuse itself, and psychological trauma from knowing that images of that abuse are circulating on the Internet.”
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, ICE HSI responded to the Toa Alta Municipal Police precinct March 9 to obtain more details regarding a child exploitation allegation against Calderon-Velez. The investigation revealed that she recorded videos of Minor Female #1 and Minor Female #2 while they were taking a shower and that she also videotaped both minors wearing underwear focusing on the minors’ genital area. The investigation also revealed that, acting on Ayala-Cedeño’s request, Calderon-Vélez sent the sexually explicit photos of the minors to him using an instant messaging cellular phone application.
Both defendants had their initial hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marcos López on Tuesday. They were transferred to the Guaynabo Metropolitan Detention Center awaiting the outcome of their case. The detention hearing is set for March 16.
Both arrestees face a sentence of at least 15 years if found guilty.