BRAWLEY, Calif. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said a 35-year-old Brawley woman is facing felony child molestation charges in Imperial County Superior Court after admitting she molested multiple children while broadcasting the acts via webcam to a male counterpart in Florida.
Diane Christina Deveaux was taken into custody February 13 at her residence after investigators with the Imperial Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (IV-ICAC) discovered evidence of child molestation during a search of her apartment. Several digital devices were seized during the arrest. Deveaux was initially charged February 15 with one count of forcible lewd acts on a child; and one count of penetration of a child under 10 years old. Deveaux remains in state custody at this time.
The charges are the result of a probe conducted by El Centro-based special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Brawley Police Department, in collaboration with the multiagency IV-ICAC.
During a hearing February 27, Deveaux was charged with an additional 13 criminal counts. She now stands accused of eight counts of forcible lewd acts on a child; and seven counts of penetration or oral copulation of a child under the age of 10. If convicted of all the charges, she faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. Deveaux’s next court appearance is set for April 3 at 9:00 a.m. in the Brawley West Department of the Imperial County Superior Court.
“Identifying and arresting predators who commit cruel and unforgivable crimes against innocent children is a top priority for HSI,” said Ronnie Martinez, assistant special agent in charge for HSI in El Centro. “These crimes have a devastating impact on the young victims. HSI will continue to pursue child predators to hold them accountable for their unconscionable actions.”
“The Imperial County Board of Supervisors’ support of the Imperial Valley ICAC Task Force enhances our ability to investigate and prosecute offenders who use the internet to sexually exploit children,” said Imperial County District Attorney Gilbert Otero. “Collaboration between local, state and federal agencies allows us to hold people accountable when they prey on the most vulnerable members of our community.”
The Brawley Police Department and the IV-ICAC Task Force are seeking the public’s assistance to identify other potential victims of child exploitation. Anyone with information about this case or other victims of child exploitation, is encouraged to call HSI’s toll-free tip line at 1-866-2DHS-ICE or 1-866-234-7423.
The IV-ICAC Task Force combines federal and state resources to investigate child exploitation crimes and provide support to police departments in the Imperial County with such investigations. Participants on the Task Force, which is led by HSI, also include personnel from ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), the Imperial County Probation Department, the Brawley Police Department, and the Imperial County District Attorney’s Office.