FBI Top Ten Fugitive Wanted for Traveling Abroad to Molest Children Arrested in Mexico One Day After Being Named as 500th Addition to FBI’s List of Top Ten Fugitives
|FBI Los Angeles June 19, 2013|
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, MEXICO—A former Palm Springs resident charged federally with various crimes against children and listed as one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives was taken into custody after a citizen’s tip led to a joint operation with Mexican law enforcement officials last night, announced Bill Lewis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, and Charlie Beck, Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Walter Lee Williams, 64, was arrested during the early evening on Tuesday, June 18, following a successful and safely executed arrest operation by Mexican law enforcement who acted on information provided to the FBI’s Legal Attaché at the United States Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico. Assistant Director Lewis expressed thanks to the Mexican government for collaborating with the FBI to safely apprehend Mr. Williams and commended the coordination by the FBI’s Legal Attaché in Mexico City with Qintana Roo State Police and Mexican Immigration officials.
The arrest occurred after an individual recognized Williams’ photograph in a local newspaper following Monday’s publicity campaign and contacted the United States Embassy in Mexico City, which houses the FBI’s Legal Attaché to Mexico. FBI agents then requested assistance from partnering Mexican law enforcement officers to locate and apprehend Williams based on the tip from the source. Mexican officials arrested Williams in a park nearby where he had been residing in the beach town of Playa del Carmen in the Mexican state of Qintana Roo.
“The successful and speedy capture of Walter Williams is evidence that the Top Ten List is an invaluable use of publicity and a powerful combination of top notch investigators, the media, and the public on an international level,” said Assistant Director Lewis. “Mr. Williams will now face prosecution for his alleged exploitation of children and the publicity may bring needed attention to the rise in sex tourism crimes we investigate.”
Williams was deported from Mexico earlier this afternoon and will be returned to the United States for prosecution. Williams is expected to be in United States District Court in Los Angeles for an initial appearance on Thursday, June 20.
Williams first came to the attention of law enforcement when the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was contacted by an acquaintance of Williams about criminal allegations concerning Williams. LAPD detectives contacted the FBI after finding evidence indicating that Williams may have had illegal contact with minors in foreign countries.
“Our heartfelt thanks go to the FBI and the citizens of Mexico for helping capture Mr. Williams,” said Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck. “Children around the world are safer today and parents can sleep better knowing that this child predator is in custody.”
Williams was charged in an indictment unsealed on Friday, June 14, 2013, in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California. The indictment, which was filed on April 30, 2013, charges Williams with one count of producing child pornography, one count of traveling for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and two counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places. The indictment alleges Williams traveled from Los Angeles to the Philippines in January 2011 to engage in sex acts with two 14-year-old boys he met online in 2010. Prior to his travel, Williams allegedly engaged in sexual activity via Internet webcam sessions with these boys and expressed a desire to visit them in the Philippines to have sex. While in the Philippines, he allegedly engaged in sex acts with both boys and produced sexually explicit photos of one of the boys. Williams is believed to have left the Los Angeles shortly after his return from the Philippines.
Williams has previously resided in Palm Springs, California, and was affiliated with a religious organization known as the Buddhist Universal Association in Los Angeles. Williams has an extensive history of travel throughout the Southeast Asia region, specifically the Philippines.
The FBI and its partners will continue to investigate Williams’ alleged criminal activity and urge anyone who may have information about this case or possible victims to contact their nearest FBI office. In Los Angeles, the FBI may be reached at all times at 310 477-6565.
This case is an ongoing investigation by the FBI’s SAFE Task Force (Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement), which includes detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department.
The Mexican operation that led to the successful arrest of Williams was conducted by the Qintana Roo State Police and Instituto Nacional de Migracion (Mexican National Institute of Immigration) and coordinated by FBI’s Legal Attaché in Mexico City.
Trial Attorneys with the United States Department of Justice, Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, are prosecuting this case.
Officers with United States Customs and Border Protection assisted during Williams transfer and arrival to the United States.
The FBI continues to work with local law enforcement to apprehend violent criminals charged with state crimes who then flee the jurisdiction interstate or internationally. Photos and descriptions of many fugitives wanted by the FBI can be found at www.fbi.gov.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
- FBI Press Relations: 310 996-3343
- U.S. Department of Justice Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.: 202-514-2007
- LAPD Media Relations: 213 486-5910