San Juan – The owner of the charter boat company Yatea Puerto Rico, Jorge Javier Marrero Gerena, was charged and arrested for alleged attempted coercion and temptation of a minor and the production of child pornography, the federal prosecutor, W. Stephen Muldrow, announced on Friday. .
“The coercion and temptation of minors via the Internet and using electronic devices to engage in illegal sexual conduct or to request and produce images of child pornography is illegal and carries serious consequences,” US Attorney Muldrow said in a written communication.
“Requesting that a person under the age of 18 submit sexually explicit images is illegal. Be alert and report such illegal activities to law enforcement authorities. Prosecuting crimes against children is a high priority and the mission of the Safe Childhood Project is focused on combating these crimes and prosecuting those who take advantage of our children. “
He explained that on October 8, 2020, a federal grand jury issued a formal indictment charging Marrero Gerena with four counts of alleged child exploitation.
Today, HSI special agents arrested Marrero Gerena at his place of residence.
Muldrow detailed that the accused allegedly used Yatea PR’s Instagram account and a WhatsApp account to communicate with minors through text messages.
According to the four-count indictment, on February 8, 2020, the defendant induced a minor under 16 to engage in sexually explicit conduct in order to produce a visual representation of the conduct.
Marrero Gerena also faces two charges for allegedly using an interstate or foreign instrument of commerce, namely a cell phone, as well as Internet text messaging and direct social media messaging services, to attempt to persuade, induce, attract and coerce two people knowingly.
It is believed that it is a minor of 13 years and a minor of 15 years to participate in sexual activities.
“HSI is seeing a growing trend in which adults are luring, deceiving and coercing children online into producing sexually explicit material of themselves,” said Ivan Arvelo, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan.
“While we will continue to prioritize the arrest of child predators, we cannot stop to get out of this problem: education is the key to prevention. This indictment represents a strong coordinated attack – by ICE Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Attorney’s Office and members of the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force – against child pornography and those who allegedly seek to harm to our most vulnerable citizens, our young children. Clearly, this criminal activity has reached epidemic proportions and ICE HSI will continue to partner here and in all jurisdictions to target those adults who heinously rape the children of our communities, ”he added.
The assistant federal prosecutor and coordinator of the Safe Childhood Project, Jenifer Hernández Vega is responsible for the prosecution of the case.
If convicted, the accused faces a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen (15) years in prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years for the production of child exploitative material, and a mandatory minimum sentence of ten (10) years with a maximum term of life imprisonment.
To report crimes against children, individuals can contact the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force at (787) 729-6969. You can also contact the FBI at (787) 987-6500.
An indictment is only an indictment and is not evidence of guilt. The accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.