ICE arrests man for exploiting young boys using SnapChat

A man living in Eastvale, California was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury for engaging in a series of child exploitation crimes involving coercing six boys into sending him pornographic videos, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Francisco Javier Soledad, 24, was arrested on March 9 by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) after federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint accusing him of one count of producing child pornography involving one 13-year-old victim.

According to court documents, Soledad adopted different online personas to persuade a 13-year-old boy from Illinois to send him sexually explicit videos through Snapchat.

Authorities claim that Soledad allegedly used the Snapchat handle “linkinparkrocks.”

After the young victim attempted to block Soledad on Snapchat, officials claim Soledad threatened to publish the video to social media unless the boy complied and sent him more pornographic videos. In one case, he did reportedly publish nude photos of one of his victims on Twitter.

The victim became frightened and told his parents, who then notified police.

Later, Soledad admitted to agents that he sent threatening messages to the Illinois boy and also victimized other minors in a similar manner.

A search of Soledad’s digital devices allegedly resulted in the seizure of more than 5,000 images and videos involving children that were pornographic in nature, according to court papers. When federal agents dug deeper into the defendant’s activities, they allegedly discovered that he had been in contact with five others victims between the ages of 12 and 15 living in California, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee, though investigators believe there may be additional victims, as yet unidentified.

The majority of the child porn appeared to be self-produced by the victims, according to authorities.

According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement press release, the indictment filed Wednesday outlines how Soledad victimized six boys between the ages of 12 and 15 over the course of several months in 2016. It describes how he sought out victims from California to Georgia using social media sites.

Soledad faces a 17-count indictment that “alleges six counts of producing of child pornography; six counts of using the internet to induce a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity; two counts of advertising child pornography; two counts of distributing child pornography; and one count of possessing child pornography on an iPhone.”

He is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment April 12 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.  If convicted, Soledad could face up to 30 years in federal prison.

He is currently free on a $170,000 bond.

H/T: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ABC7 News

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