Criminal Justice

Region Man Eric Toth Caught in Nicaragua

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it has arrested 31-year-old Hammond native Eric Toth, once known as the person who replaced Osama Bin Laden in the top placement on the agency’s most-wanted list.

The FBI’s Washington Field Office Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave announced the arrest Tuesday. She said he was arrested for U.S. child pornography charges Saturday in Nicaragua. The FBI says its Panama City Legal Attaché Office and the Regional Security Office of the U.S. Embassy in Managua worked with Nicaraguan officials to locate Toth in Esteli, Nicaragua. Parlace said Toth’s arrest followed “an exhaustive and well coordinated investigation.”

The FBI says Toth is a former school teacher and camp councilor who produced and possessed child pornography. The investigation into Toth began in June 2008 after pornographic images were found on a school camera that had been in his possession and an arrest warrant was issued for Toth out of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for possession of child pornography. On December 1, 2008, he was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland for production of child pornography.

Toth had been a fugitive since his alleged criminal activity was discovered, and he was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list on April 10, 2012. The FBI say after a tip led law enforcement to Nicaragua, where Toth was using an alias, police traced his recent movements and tracked a recent purchase to find him in Esteli, Nicaragua, where he was taken into custody.

The FBI had offered a reward up to $100,000 for information directly leading to Toth’s arrest, and it used billboards in the greater Chicago area to publicize the case in pursuit of an arrest.


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