ICE HSI investigation results in 3-year sentence for Philippine national for child pornography conviction

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A Philippine man was sentenced Monday in federal court to three years in prison for possession of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and false swearing in immigration matters.

Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated the case with the assistance from the New Mexico Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory.

Rodymar Lelis, 31, pleaded guilty to these charges on July 8.

According to court records, Lelis moved from the Philippines to the United States following the issuance of a non-immigrant visa. Lelis provided false documentation on his visa application, noting “no” arrest history despite a 2018 arrest in the Philippines.  

On Sept. 7, 2019, after arriving in the United States and while staying at a hotel near the airport in Albuquerque, Lelis logged into the Facebook Messenger application on his mobile phone. The application contained previously uploaded child pornography, which caused Facebook to generate a CyberTipline Report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Upon his release from prison, Lelis will be subject to six years of supervised release and must register as a sex offender. However, Lelis has consented to deportation following his release.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

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HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through the ICE Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2434) or online at www.ice.gov/tips. 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.