Suspect in child exploitation video nabbed

By Mike M. Ahlers

(CNN) — One day after authorities released photos of a man purportedly culled from sexually explicit videos, a suspect is under arrest and his alleged child victim has been identified and taken to safety, officials tell CNN.

Authorities declined to name the man pending his appearance in federal court on Thursday. Even before his arrest, he had been charged as a “John Doe” with producing and distributing child pornography.

The man was arrested Wednesday, a day after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials issued a public appeal for help, releasing five photographs of the man clipped from the videos.

The case took on added urgency because officials believed the victim — a girl age 7 to 9 — was likely still being abused.

Investigator were aided by an unlikely clue — a pretzel bag visible in one video.

Danish National Police launched the investigation May 3 after discovering four videos on the internet the previous day. Three videos were date-stamped April 14, and the fourth was dated April 27.

Three factors led Danish investigators to believe the crime occurred in the United States: The background, some products visible in the video, and the man’s appearance.

In the United States, investigators with Homeland Security Investigations, the law enforcement arm of ICE, saw a Frito-Lay Rold Gold bag for thin pretzels in the videos.

By studying Frito-Lay web sites, they learned that Rold Gold pretzels are packaged differently within the United States and Canada. ICE investigators believe the bag is exclusively distributed in the United States.

Wednesday, ICE investigators appealed for the public’s help, saying they had hit a wall in the investigation.

“Without the public’s help, we may not be able (to find the man) and more importantly stop the ongoing abuse of this victim,” said Brian Korzak, a special agent with ICE’s Cyber Crimes Center, Child Exploitation Unit.

ICE officials said they got that help when someone called the ICE tip line Wednesday evening.

Authorities would not reveal the locations of the arrest or the scheduled court appearance.

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