17 indicted and arrested in Puerto Rico for failing to register as sex offenders

SAN JUAN - A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted 17 convicted sex offenders who failed to register with the Puerto Rico authorities after traveling to Puerto Rico from the continental United States.

The indictment stemmed from a multi-agency investigation led by the U.S. Marshals Service, in collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), the San Juan Municipal Police and the Puerto Rico Department of Justice.

Following is the list of 17 defendants, their conviction date, and the state they were convicted:

Tomas Papote-Mercado - convicted in September 2004 in Pennsylvania
Irvin Baez-Amadeo - convicted in October 2000 in Massachusetts
Hector M. González-Rodríguez - convicted in April 2002 in New Hampshire
Mario Albino-Oliveras, aka Mayito - convicted in March 1998 in Massachusetts
German Rodríguez-Vázquez - convicted in March 2009 in Florida
Felipe Martínez-Vázquez - convicted in June 1989 in Massachusetts
José A. Almodovar-Falcon - convicted in November 2005 in Illinois
Carlos J. Heredia - convicted in May 1998 in Connecticut
Kelvin Vargas-Galicia - convicted in September 2004 in Connecticut
José A. Cruz-Vázquez - convicted in February 1991 in Florida
José A. Enriquez-Sepulveda - convicted in April 1998 in Florida
Eliezer Martínez-Álvarez - convicted in October 2005 in Massachusetts
Alexander Meléndez-Maldonado - convicted in January 2005 in Connecticut
Donald Lee Peters - convicted in August 2001 in Wyoming
Eduardo Pacheco - convicted in June 1998 in New York
Alex S. Rodríguez-Santana - convicted in 1994 in Delaware
José F. Morales-Cruz - convicted in October 1994 in New Jersey

"Convicted sex offenders who fail to register as such in our jurisdiction will be sought, apprehended and prosecuted as this case clearly shows," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Puerto Rico. "ICE HSI will continue supporting our federal, state, and local partners in this effort to make our communities safer."

"The arrest of these individuals underscores the importance of joint investigative efforts with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. We will continue to prosecute these sex offenders who travel to our jurisdiction and fail to comply with their obligation to register with the authorities, and we will ensure that the highest applicable penalties are imposed against these offenders. Puerto Rico will not be a safe haven for these individuals," said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.

Under the provisions of the Adam Walsh Protection and Safety Act, a previously convicted sex offender, who travels in interstate or in foreign commerce and fails to register, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.