Customs and Border Protection Officer Fabio Lopez, (61, Weston) Arrested for Child Exploitation

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Fort Lauderdale, Florida — Today, the federal government charged Fabio Lopez, 61, of Weston, Florida, with enticing a 16-year-old girl into engaging in sexual activity and with attempting to produce child pornography by trying to convince the underage girl to pose for sexually suggestive pictures.

According to the allegations of the criminal complaint affidavit, Lopez met the 16-year-old through her mother. While on duty as a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at Miami International Airport, Lopez allegedly stopped the mother as she was about to board an international flight. Lopez requested the mother’s cell phone number, which she gave him. They developed a friendship.  Lopez visited the mother at home, where he met the 16-year-old daughter.  Over about eight months, Lopez developed a relationship with the child, texting her often. It allegedly progressed to Lopez fondling the child and offering to pay her money to let him take pornographic pictures of her. The child told her mother about Lopez’s conduct. The mother contacted law enforcement, who later arrested Lopez.

Lopez had his initial appearance today at 11:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jared M. Strauss in Fort Lauderdale. Lopez’s pretrial detention hearing is set for Monday, March 16 at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Strauss. His arraignment is set for March 25.

Criminal complaints and their affidavits are allegations of criminal conduct. A defendant is innocent until found guilty.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office; Jeffrey Arndt, Special Agent in Charge, CBP Office of Professional Responsibility (CBP-OPR); and Chief Kipp Shimpeno, Pembroke Pines Police Department, made the announcement.

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of HSI, CBP-OPR, and Pembroke Pines Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jodi L. Anton is prosecuting this case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

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