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Suspect on FBI's 10 Most Wanted list ordered detained

Eric Justin Toth of the U.S. is presented to the media at police headquarters building in Managua April 22, 2013. Toth, a former Washington
Eric Justin Toth of the U.S. is presented to the media at police headquarters building in Managua April 22, 2013. Toth, a former Washington

By Ian Simpson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former Washington schoolteacher on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for child pornography was ordered detained after an initial appearance in a U.S. court on Tuesday following extradition from Nicaragua, officials said.

The man, Eric Justin Toth, 31, was arrested on Saturday in Esteli, a city some 90 miles north of Managua, after almost five years on the run.

Toth made an initial appearance in U.S. district court in Washington on charges of production and possession of child pornography. He was ordered detained pending a hearing on May 23, the office of the U.S. Attorney for Washington said in a statement.

Nicaraguan police who arrested Toth said he had been caught with a fake U.S. passport, a fake driving license, and fake bank and credit cards.

"This is just one more example that, hopefully, will send a message to criminals that you can't run far enough to get away from federal law enforcement," Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for Maryland, told a news conference before the hearing.

Toth had taught at Beauvoir, a private elementary school at the National Cathedral, and had also worked as a camp counselor. He had been a fugitive since the District of Columbia and Maryland issued arrest warrants in 2008.

He is alleged to have had a school camera in his possession in June 2008 that had pornographic images on it. He is also charged with producing child pornography in Maryland.

Ronald Machen, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, told reporters Toth would face a federal child pornography production charge shortly.

Valerie Parlave, assistant director of the FBI field office in Washington, said it was unclear how long Toth had been in Nicaragua or how he had supported himself. Nicaraguan police have said that Toth entered the country in February.

On its website, the FBI said Toth had often been described as a computer expert. He was added to the Most Wanted list in April 2012.

A U.S. federal law enforcement source had said Toth was last seen in 2009 at an Arizona homeless shelter. The shelter alerted authorities and Toth vanished, the source said.

Toth attended Cornell University for a year and then transferred to Purdue University, where he earned an education degree, the FBI said.

The maximum penalty for production of child pornography is 30 years in prison. The maximum sentence for possession of child pornography is 20 years.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Leslie Gevirtz)

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