HSI Seeks Aid in ID’ing Young Victims of San Diego Ex-Preschool Teacher

Anyone who may have had previous contact with Paul Torres Jimenez De La Cuesta, 29, of Imperial Beach, California, or thinks they may have information that may be relevant to the child exploitation investigation, please call HSI San Diego at (760) 901-1004.
Anyone who may have had previous contact with Paul Torres Jimenez De La Cuesta, 29, of Imperial Beach, California, or thinks they may have information that may be relevant to the child exploitation investigation, please call HSI San Diego at (760) 901-1004.

Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which were recognized in the 2018 ‘ASTORs’ Homeland Security Awards Program, are seeking the public’s assistance to identify potential victims of a former preschool teacher convicted of child exploitation.

Paul Torres Jimenez De La Cuesta, 29, of Imperial Beach, California, pleaded guilty April 5 to distribution of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

In June 2020, HSI Oceanside agents discovered Torres was trading child sex abuse materials (CSAM) via online chat groups.

On June 11, 2020, special agents arrested Torres at his place of employment in Poway, California, after a federally executed search warrant of his electronic devices revealed the presence of CSAM.

(Federal authorities are asking any previously unidentified victims of a former San Diego-area preschool teacher convicted of child exploitation to call investigators. Paul Torres Jimenez De La Cuesta, 29, pleaded guilty April 5 to distribution of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Courtesy of CBS 8 San Diego and YouTube.)

At the time of his arrest, Torres was employed as a preschool teacher at the My Room to Grow Preschool in Poway.

In addition to My Room to Grow Preschool, an HSI investigation revealed that Torres had been previously employed either full-time or as a substitute teacher at the following San Diego schools:

  • St. David’s Episcopal Church & Preschool, 5050 Milton Street

  • Seaside Preschool’s Beachside Campus, 1201 Turquoise Street

  • Little Sprouts Preschool – Mission Valley Campus, 403 Camino del Rio South

  • NHA University of Early Learning Bethel Campus – Day Care Center, 3085 K Street (Neighborhood House Association)

  • NHA Johnson Early Learning Academy – Day Care Center, 5760 Luber Street (Neighborhood House Association)

  • NHA Karen D Love Head Start – Day Care Center, 2060 Drescher Street – 6749 TAIT (Neighborhood House Association)

  • NHA Stem Institute for Early Learning – Day Care Center, 808 W Cedar Street (Neighborhood House Association)

  • YMCA of San Diego County, 3708 Ruffin Road

  • San Diego Cooperative Preschool, 4190 Front Street

Torres, who is scheduled to be sentenced on June 28, also has worked at Concordia Church & School on Discovery Falls Drive in Chula Vista and Soroptimist International of the Americas in Tijuana.

HSI's Operation Predator (Courtesy of ICE)
HSI’s Operation Predator (Courtesy of ICE)

Anyone who may have had previous contact with Torres or thinks they may have information that may be relevant to the child exploitation investigation, is asked to call HSI San Diego at (760) 901-1004.

HSI also 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 United States and Canada, callers should dial (802) 872-6199. Hearing impaired users may call TTY (802) 872-6196.

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 25,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children.

HSI takes a victim-centered approach to child exploitation investigations by working to identify, rescue and stabilize victims.

John Clark, CEO of NCMEC, accepting a 2019 'ASTORS' Award at the 'ASTORS' Awards Luncheon held during ISC East.
NCMEC President and CEO John F. Clark. John Clark, shown here, accepting a 2019 ‘ASTORS’ Award at the ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon held during ISC East.

HSI works in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which was recognized in the 2019 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program along with the organization’s President and CEO Mr. John F. Clark, as well as Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) partners, and other federal, state, and local agencies to help solve cases and rescue sexually exploited children.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to NCMEC’s 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.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and a vital U.S. asset in combatting transnational crime and threats.

One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set.

HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline, and is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and non-government partnerships to identify and rescue child victims, identify and apprehend offenders, prevent transnational child sexual abuse, and help make the internet a safer place for children.

HSI Operation Predator Nominated in 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program

2019 'ASTORS' Awards Program Banquet Luncheon
2019 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program Banquet Luncheon

American Security Today’s ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards program is entering its Sixth Year and continues to recognize the Outstanding Innovations of top firms and agencies in the Homeland Security and Public Safety fields.

The Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards is the preeminent U.S. Homeland Security Awards Program highlighting the most cutting-edge and forward-thinking security solutions coming onto the market today, to ensure our readers have the information they need to stay ahead of the competition, and keep our Nation safe – one facility, street, and city at a time.

90% of ‘ASTORS’ Award Winners return to compete in the Annual ‘ASTORS‘ Homeland Security Awards Program, and 100% of ‘ASTORS’ Sponsors have returned year to year to reap the benefits of their participation in the industry’s largest and most comprehensive Annual Awards Program.

2019 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Luncheon at ISC East

2020 was a very challenging year for everyone due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the much heralded AST ‘ASTORS’ Awards Winners Presentations and exclusive Luncheon at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC was canceled and rescheduled for 2021 due to the virus.

Mike Madsen, Publisher, American Security Today
Mike Madsen, Publisher, American Security Today

However, the 2020 ‘ASTORS’  Homeland Security Awards Program was again a huge success and many new categories were added including a section for COVID-19 Detection and Innovation.

The 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program was sponsored by ATI SystemsAttivo NetworksAutomatic SystemsDesktop Alert, X.Labs and Reed Exhibitionsevery one a returning Sponsor from 2020, 2019 and More.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards at https://americansecuritytoday.com/ast-awards/.

Comprehensive List of Categories Include:

Access Control/ Identification Personal/Protective Equipment Law Enforcement Counter Terrorism
Perimeter Barrier/ Deterrent System Interagency Interdiction Operation Cloud Computing/Storage Solution
Facial/IRIS Recognition Body Worn Video Product Cyber Security
Video Surveillance/VMS Mobile Technology Anti-Malware
Audio Analytics Disaster Preparedness ID Management
Thermal/Infrared Camera Mass Notification System Fire & Safety
Metal/Weapon Detection Rescue Operations Critical Infrastructure
License Plate Recognition Detection Products And Many Others!

Don’t see a Direct Hit for your Product, Agency or Organization?

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30 January 2020 and a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Local transmission of the disease has occurred across all fifty states in the America.

With the unprecedented occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus of the safety and security industries has realized the need to increase innovations to address the daily growing challenges.

As such AST aims to make sure these firms and professionals are reflected in the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program, so we’d like to encourage you to submit appropriate categories recommendations and include COVID-19 Frontline Professionals in your Nominations to see that these Professionals, Facilities, and Vendors receive the Recognition they Deserve!

Submit your category recommendation for consideration to Michael Madsen, AST Publisher at: mmadsen@americansecuritytoday.com.

2020 ‘ASTORS’ Excellence and Government Award Recipients Include 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Excellence in Homeland Security

  • The Blue Campaign is a national public awareness campaign, designed to educate the public, law enforcement and other industry partners to recognize the indicators of human trafficking, and how to appropriately respond to possible cases.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate

Excellence in Homeland Security

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is a global threat with life and death consequences, the enormity of which many of us have never seen before.

  • It is also a scientific challenge in need of innovative solutions and S&T is using every tool at its disposal to join the fight; including harnessing the knowledge of it’s experts on technology deployments, international collaboration, scientific breakthroughs, and support for America’s frontline workers.

  • S&T has focused its efforts on laboratory research and providing valuable resources to inform the broader response community and help keep front line responders safe.

DHS S&T Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC)

Excellence in Homeland Security

  • CARD, a chemical synthesis and chemical informatics centric data system (e.g. boiling point, melting point, toxicity, or spectroscopic information) containing both unclassified and classified data, is accessible from a classified website maintained on a server hosted by the Department of Defense.

  • The website is available to appropriately cleared personnel from DHS, Department of Justice (e.g. FBI), other United States Government interagency offices, and state and local agencies, and provides information on how chemicals of interest could be produced.

DHS S&T National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL)

Excellence in Public Safety

    • Hoist Rescue Gloves for Aerial Rescue

  • Rescue helicopter hoist operators need gloves to protect the hand that guides the hoist cable during rescue descents and ascents, using a significant amount of force to mitigate the cable swinging for situations from hurricane evacuations and dive rescues to rescuing stranded hikers on a mountain side, missions vary and no two are ever alike.

  • A partnership between S&T and Higher Dimension Materials, Inc. (HDM) resulted in an enhanced rescue hoist glove with increased flexibility, durability, and dexterity.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate

Excellence in Homeland Security

  • The Slash CameraPole is a self-triggering platform with wireless data retrieval to detect and give warning of suspicious activities at the U.S.-Canada border, specifically a cleared stretch of land at the border that is approximately 20-feet wide, 1,349 miles long, and is referred to as the “Slash.”

  • This man-made, treeless zone is mandated by the International Boundary Commission and presents a formidable surveillance challenge, against such threats as illegal crossings, drug and illegal contraband smuggling and human trafficking.

  • Using the Slash CameraPole system, Border Patrol has been able to establish an advanced border surveillance capability where none existed before. 

  • Partnering with MIT Lincoln Laboratory and several private companies to create the Slash CameraPole with numerous ingenious features, such as solar panels and a back-up fuel cell system make it independent of the power grid, multiple infrared cameras (two long-range, one foreground, and one base imager with a fisheye lens) mean it doesn’t miss a thing.

  • An in-ground cement foundation and electrical enclosure ensures it can withstand brutal winter conditions. Should its unobtrusive appearance manage to draw the attention of would-be vandals, the Slash CameraPole is resistant to small arms fire and other tampering.

  • *DHS S&T Programs have now been recognized in their Fifth Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Excellence in Homeland Security

  • The CDC has provided Law enforcement and EMS who must make contact with individuals confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 with guidance to help safeguard their health while performing their duties.

  • Law enforcement who must make contact with individuals confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 should follow CDC’s Interim Guidance for EMS

  • To Learn More, please visit the CDC’s answers to frequently asked questions about law enforcement and COVID-19 by clicking this link.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Excellence in Homeland Security

  • ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) is charged with enforcing the nation’s immigration laws in a fair and effective manner.

  • ERO identifies and apprehends removable aliens, detains these individuals when necessary and removes illegal aliens from the United States.

  • ERO transports removable aliens from point to point, manages aliens in custody or in an alternative to detention program, provides access to legal resources and representatives of advocacy groups and removes individuals from the United States who have been ordered to be deported.

  • ERO’s mission is to protect the homeland through the arrest and removal of aliens who undermine the safety of our communities and the integrity of our immigration laws.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

Best Federal Government Security Program

    • Federal Risk Management Process Training Program

  • The Federal Risk Management Process Training Program (FedRMPTP), Newly available Online – is Interagency Security Committee certified for Facility Security Officials, Federal Security Supervisors and those involved with Federal facility acquisition, construction, and renovation projects.

  • On October 19, 1995, six months after the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, President Clinton issued Executive Order 12977, creating the Interagency Security Committee (ISC) to address continuing government-wide security for federal facilities.

  • Prior to 1995, minimum physical security standards for non-military federally owned or leased facilities.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Excellence in Homeland Security

  • The IC3 serves as the FBI’s central hub to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding occurrences of Internet crime

  • IC3 provides the public with a reliable and convenient reporting mechanism to submit reports of suspected Internet-facilitated criminal activity and to develop alliances with law enforcement and industry partners.

Federal Protective Service in Collaboration with the Argonne National Laboratory

Best Risk, Crisis Management Solution

    • Modified Infrastructure Survey Tool (MIST) – COVID-19 Telematics Capabilities

  • DHS’s Federal Protective Service (FPS) provides integrated security and law enforcement services–including conducting security assessments and detecting and mitigating threats–to over 9,500 federal facilities. To accomplish this mission, FPS leverages the Modified Infrastructure Survey Tool (MIST), a joint solution developed in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory.

  • Argonne and FPS have continuously sought ways to improve the tool’s ability to assess, detect, and mitigating threats, and this year, no threat was more pervasive in this country than COVID-19.

  • To confront the threat that COVID-19 posed to the FPS workforce, MIST was enhanced to allow FPS Headquarters and FPS Management to track and display each federal building affected by COVID-19, and to analyze local hospitals and EMS facilities in relation to federal buildings and office locations.

  • Additionally, the map capability within MIST was expanded to allow for many additional layers, allowed FPS a granular understanding of the number of facilities impacted by the virus, and much more. 

  • Ultimately, the new COVID-19 telematics capabilities offered FPS decision makers the ability to make better informed decisions on moving personnel and security equipment to best protect people and property, while ensuring safety of their staff. 

  • The Federal Protective Service and Argonne National Laboratory have also been recognized in the 2019, and 20188 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Programs respectively.

New Jersey City University

Excellence in Public Safety

  • NJCU is one of the few programs nationally in higher education designated an Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) per the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and a Cyber Defense CAE per the National Security Agency.

  • The Department of Professional Security Studies focuses on a student–centered, scholar-practitioner approach to education.

  • It’s mission is to facilitate access, create opportunities and provide a supportive environment for achieving academic success through learning and appreciation of subject matter, professional and personal growth and the development of identified and marketable global and disciplinary competencies.

  • The New Jersey City University (NJCU) Cybersecurity program is an interdisciplinary center for cybersecurity education, training and research, which aims to provide current and future professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to strive and compete within the cyber security community outreach.

New York City Emergency Management

Excellence in Homeland Security

    • New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM), is under the guidance of Commissioner Deanne Criswell, a former FEMA official and head of OEM for the city of Aurora, CO, who is responsible for oversight and development of the city’s emergency management plans.

    • NYCEM regularly tests plans by conducting drills and exercises, and responds to emergencies to ensure that other agencies not only follow these plans, but to foster communication amongst the responding agencies.

    • NYCEM also operates the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) where city, state and federal agencies join representatives from the private and nonprofit sectors to coordinate complex responses to emergencies and disasters.

    • The agency also developed and runs the Notify NYC emergency alert program, by which citizens can sign up to receive phone and email alerts about emergencies and events happening in their neighborhoods.

    • NYCEM is also the administrator of New York City’s community emergency response teams. Each community emergency response team (CERT) is coterminous with one or more New York community boards.

    • The agency also maintains the Citywide Incident Management System which is based on the National Incident Management System.

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

Excellence in Public Safety

  • U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary (CGAUX) boating courses provide instruction to boaters at all levels, from the fundamental to the advanced.

  • The agency’s courses (virtual and classroom) are taught by experienced and knowledgeable CGAUX instructors committed to the highest standards of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

  • They are offered in two modalities: virtual, video conference with CGAUX Virtual PE Instructors, and classroom setting with CGAUX PE Instructors.

Why American Security Today?

The traditional security marketplace has long been covered by a host of publications putting forward the old school basics to what is Today – a fast changing security landscape.

The traditional security marketplace has long been covered by a host of publications putting forward the old school basics to what is Today – a fast changing security landscape.

American Security Today is uniquely focused on the broader Homeland Security & Public Safety marketplace with over 75,000 readers at the Federal, State and local levels of government as well as firms allied to government.

American Security Today brings forward a fresh compelling look and read with our customized digital publications that hold readers eyes throughout the story with cutting edge editorial that provides solutions to their challenges.

Harness the Power of the Web – with our 100% Mobile Friendly Publications

AST puts forward the Largest and Most Qualified Circulation in Government with Over 75,000 readers on the Federal, State and Local levels.
AST puts forward the Largest and Most Qualified Circulation in Government with Over 75,000 readers on the Federal, State and Local levels.

The AST Digital Publications is distributed to over 75,000 qualified government and homeland security professionals in federal, state and local levels.


AST Reaches both Private & Public Experts, essential to meeting these new challenges.

Today’s new generation of public safety and security experts need real-time knowledge to deal with domestic and international terrorism, lone wolf attacks, unprecedented urban violence, shifts in society, culture and media bias – making it increasingly difficult for Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Military and Private Security Professionals to implement coordinated security measures to ensure national security and improve public safety.

American Security Today

These experts are from Government at the federal, state and local level as well as from private firms allied to government.

AST provides a full plate of topics in our AST Monthly Magazine Editions, AST Website and AST Daily News Alerts, covering 23 Vital Sectors such as Access Control, Perimeter Protection, Video Surveillance/Analytics, Airport Security, Border Security, CBRNE Detection, Border Security, Ports, Cybersecurity, Networking Security, Encryption, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Campus Security, Security Services, Corporate Facilities, and Emergency Response among others.

AST has Expanded readership into integral Critical Infrastructure audiences such as Protection of Nuclear Facilities, Water Plants & Dams, Bridges & Tunnels, and other potential targets of terrorism.

Other areas of concern include Transportation Hubs, Public Assemblies, Government Facilities, Sporting & Concert Stadiums, our Nation’s Schools & Universities, and Commercial Business Destinations – all enticing targets due to the large number of persons and resources clustered together.

To learn more about the 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award Winners solutions, Check Out the New 2020 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS Edition Fully Interactive Magazine – the Best Products of 2020 ‘A Year in Review’.

The Annual CHAMPIONS edition includes a review of the ‘ASTORS’ Award Winning products and programs, highlighting key details on many of the winning firms products and services, includes video interviews and more.

It is your Go-To source throughout the year for ‘The Best of 2020 Products and Services‘ endorsed by American Security Today, and can satisfy your agency’s and organization’s most pressing Homeland Security and Public Safety needs.

From Physical Security (Access Control, Critical Infrastructure, Perimeter Protection and Video Surveillance Cameras and Video Management Systems), to IT Security (Cybersecurity, Encryption, Data Storage, Anti-Malware and Networking Security – Just to name a few), the 2020 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS EDITION has what you need to Detect, Delay, Respond to, and Mitigate today’s real-time threats in our constantly evolving security landscape.

It also includes featured guest editorial pieces from some of the security industry’s most respected leaders, and recognized firms in the 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program.

  • For a complete list of 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Award Winners, click here.

For more information on All Things American Security Today, and How to Compete in the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program, please contact Michael Madsen, AST Publisher at mmadsen@americansecuritytoday.com.

AST strives to meet a 3 STAR trustworthiness rating, based on the following criteria:

  • Provides named sources
  • Reported by more than one notable outlet
  • Includes supporting video, direct statements, or photos

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