MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A central Florida man is in jail without bond accused of sexually abusing two children, a toddler and an infant.
Benjamin Cuadrado, 40, is charged with two counts of sexual battery on a child under twelve.READ MORE: Florida spot lands in second on 'Dr. Beach' list for top US beaches for 2022
“This man is a monster. There are no other words to describe him,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said about Cuadrado, arrested Tuesday in Lakeland.
The arrest was the culmination of a nationwide manhunt which started in South Florida.
“Today, through a collaborative law enforcement effort and through the tireless dedication of numerous officers and investigators, we have arrested one of the worst child predators operating in our Florida area, but more importantly we have rescued two minor children from repeated sexual abuses,” said Alysa Erichs, the Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge for the Miami office.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Cyber Crimes Center in Washington, DC coordinated the search after HSI investigators discovered six videos of a 2-year-old child and 13-month-old infant being sexually abused by an adult. Miami Beach Police and Miami-Dade Schools Police also assisted in the investigation.
The videos were initially obtained through social media. One man was arrested for having the video in Miami Beach and another in Las Vegas.
The face of the abuser was partially visible in the videos and a forensics sketch artist helped investigators identify the potential suspect who turned out to be Cuadrado, living in Central Florida.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said that Cuadrado admitted post-Miranda warning to sexually abusing the child and infant and to videotaping the abuse.READ MORE: ‘Try To Take Our Guns And You’ll Learn,’ Florida Lawmaker Tweets At President Biden
He reportedly admitted to committing over 40 sexual abuse acts over the period of a year from 2012 to January 2014.
Investigators haven’t said if Cuadrado was related to the victims, but believe the abuse started when one of the children was just three months old.
“The images of these videos are among the worst our investigators have ever seen,” Erichs said.
The arrest report said “an adult male identified as the defendant is seen performing oral sex on the infant” and “kissing, sucking, and licking on the face of the infant.”
But the abuse did not stop there. The details of the other sexual acts are too graphic for television.
“Although we know we can’t undo what has been done to these children, we can rest knowing it cannot be done under the hands of Cuadrado and that he is potentially facing spending the rest of his life in jail,” Erichs said.
Investigators said there may be additional videos, but don’t believe there are additional victims.
Cuadrado is in jail and being held with no bond and will likely face additional federal charges.MORE NEWS: Broward Sheriff Tony, School Superintendent Cartwright Implement Enhance Safety Measures In Light Of Texas Shooting
Last year, HSI initiated over 4,000 child exploitation cases, totaling more than a million man hours spent on these types of investigations, a spokesman said.