(STL.News) – Jorge Javier Marrero Gerena, owner of the charter boat company Yatea Puerto Rico, was indicted and arrested for attempted coercion and enticement of a minor, coercion and enticement of a minor, and production of child pornography, announced United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, W. Stephen Muldrow. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is in charge of the investigation of the case.
On October 8, 2020, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Marrero Gerena with four counts of child exploitation. Today, HSI special agents arrested Marrero Gerena at his place of residence.
The defendant used the Yatea PR Instagram account and a WhatsApp account to communicate via text messaging with minors. According to the four-count indictment, on February 8, 2020, the defendant induced a sixteen (16) year-old female minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct. Marrero Gerena is also facing two counts for using an instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce, namely a cell phone, as well as internet text messaging services and social media direct messaging, to knowingly attempt to persuade, induce, entice, and coerce two individuals the defendant believed to be a thirteen (13) year-old female minor and a fifteen (15) year-old female minor to engage in sexual activity.
“The coercion and enticement of minors via the internet and through electronic devices to engage in otherwise illegal sexual conduct or to request and produce images of child pornography is illegal and carries serious consequences,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow. “Requesting that a minor under the age of 18 send 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 Project Safe Childhood’s mission is focused on combatting those crimes and prosecuting those who prey on our children.”
To denounce crimes against children people may contact the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force, at (787) 729-6969. You could also contact the FBI at (787) 987-6500.
“HSI is seeing a growing trend where children are being enticed, tricked and coerced online by adults to produce sexually explicit material of themselves,” said Ivan J. Arvelo, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “While we will continue to prioritize the arrest of child predators, we cannot arrest our way out of this problem: education is the key to prevention. This indictment represents a strong coordinated strike – by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, the U. S. Attorney’s Office and the members of the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force– against child pornography and those who allegedly seek to harm our most vulnerable citizens, our young children. Clearly, this criminal activity has reached epidemic proportions and ICE HSI will continue to partner here and across jurisdictions to target those adults who egregiously violate the children of our communities.”
Assistant United States Attorney, and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator, Jenifer Y. Hernández Vega is responsible for the prosecution of the case. If convicted, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen (15) years imprisonment and a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years for the production of child exploitation material count, and a mandatory minimum sentence of ten (10) years with a maximum term of life imprisonment for each other count. An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.