An Ehrenberg man made his initial appearance in state court Friday after his arrest by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for allegedly sexually exploiting at least one 13 year-old girl.
Alejandro Ledesma, 20, will remain in custody on 4 counts of sexually exploiting a minor. These criminal charges resulted from an investigation by HSI Phoenix in collaboration with the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department.
“This arrest represents is one of many predators that Homeland Security Investigations targets to protect our youth from predators who sexually exploit children,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix. “HSI routinely works with our local law enforcement partners to combat this type of crime.”
During the course of the probe, investigators examined over 20 images and videos discovered on the defendant’s electronic devices. HSI special agents had already identified one 13-year-old female victim in North Carolina. As the investigation progressed at the scene, 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].
“The La Paz County Sheriff’s Department was happy to work with HSI in this investigation, said William D. Risen, the La Paz County Sheriff. “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.”
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. The case is being prosecuted by the La Paz County Attorney’s Office.
A press release by ICE reminds the public that every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court, adding the following:
“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
Page 1 of 1 www.ice.gov 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.
“For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. 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.”