An Arizona man is expected to make his initial appearance in state court Friday following his arrest by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for allegedly sexually exploiting at least one 13-year-old girl.
Alejandro Ledesma, 20, from La Paz County, will remain in custody pending his arraignment on four counts of sexually exploiting a minor.
The criminal charges resulted from an investigation by HSI Phoenix in collaboration with the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department. This case is being prosecuted by the La Paz County Attorney’s Office.
“This arrest represents yet another prime example of HSI’s ongoing efforts to protect our children from predators who would seek to sexually exploit them,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix.
“HSI routinely collaborates with its local law enforcement partners to combat this type of crime.”
“The La Paz County Sheriff’s Department was happy to work with HSI in this investigation,” said La Paz County Sheriff William D. Risen.
“Detective Johnson did a great job communicating with HSI and coordinating the local response to ensure a safe and effective arrest.”
“We look forward to working together in the future.”
During the course of the probe, investigators examined over 20 images and videos discovered on the defendant’s electronic devices.
HSI special agents have already identified one 13-year-old female victim in North Carolina.
As the investigation progressed, HSI special agents also identified two other unknown young girls in images and videos participating in lewd acts.
Anyone with information about Ledesma – or his internet chatroom handle “Donk Malandrine” – is encouraged to call HSI’s toll-free tip line: 1-866-2DHS-ICE [1-866-234-7423].
If convicted of four counts of sexually exploiting a minor, Ladesma would face a mandatory minimum penalty of 40 years in state prison and a potential maximum penalty of up to 96 years.
(Make it hard for predators to hide; download the Operation Predator app today from iTunes or Google Play. Courtesy of ICE and YouTube)
Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
This investigation 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 16,000 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 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.
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. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
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.
HSI is a founding member 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.