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‘Most Wanted’ fugitive teacher returned to U.S. on child porn charges

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A suspected child predator who was a “most-wanted” fugitive when captured in Nicaragua appeared in federal court on Tuesday where he confirmed his identity and was ordered held.

Eric Toth, 31, a former private school teacher and camp counselor, entered no plea to charges of possession and production of child pornography.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay said that Toth could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the counts that were included in a 2008 Maryland indictment.

Wearing a navy rain jacket, the bearded Toth confirmed his identity but made no other comments.

He was represented by a federal public defender, Michelle Peterson.

A preliminary hearing was set for May 23. He will remain in custody pending that proceeding.

FBI Assistant Director Valerie Parlave said investigators looking for Toth for five years received a “high quality” tip on April 18 and were able to take him into custody on Saturday in the small Nicaraguan community of Esteli.

Parlave said Toth had been living under an alias.

She credited Nicaraguan officials as well as a number of U.S. law enforcement agencies for helping in the investigation.

The investigation of Toth began in June 2008 after pornographic images were found on a school camera that had been in his possession, authorities alleged.

They said they have identified at least one child victim in Maryland.

Toth was placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” fugitives list last April.

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