San Juan, Puerto Rico - A former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee has been sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison for transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual conduct. This sentencing follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF).

William Y. Maldonado, 36, of Peñuelas, was sentenced Thursday to 15 years and eight months in prison by U.S. District Judge Jose A. Fuste. In addition to the prison term, Fuste also sentenced Maldonado-Rivera to a 10-year period of supervised release.

HSI special agents arrested Maldonado-Rivera, 35, after an investigation stemming from a complaint by the victim's mother led to HSI special agents discovering that he transported the minor from Peñuelas to a motel in Ponce with the intent to engage her in sexual criminal conduct.

“Cases of adults transporting minors with the intent to engage them in sexually illicit conduct have increased dramatically and HSI will continue investigating them and arresting those who steal our children's innocence,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “Our special agents will continue using their unique and robust investigative authorities to identify, apprehend and prosecute those who, very unfortunately and despite all of our efforts, think they can abuse our children and get away with it.”

In June 2011, in response to the need for an island-wide approach to fighting the escalation of predatory crimes against children, HSI San Juan formed the Puerto Rico Crimes against Children Task Force (PRCACTF).

Through PRCACTF, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies work together with local and state government agencies to effectively pool their resources and jointly investigate all crimes against children in Puerto Rico. Through the task force, law enforcement officers are able to share ideas, leads and evidence, as well as investigative and forensic tools to ensure the most successful prosecutions possible. As such, PRCACTF allows law enforcement to speak with one unified voice in defense of the children of Puerto Rico.

The investigation is part of 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 10,000 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 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

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 staffed around the clock by investigators. 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 and current chair 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.