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Crime & Courts

Pretzel bag key to California arrest of child porn suspect

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Published:   |   Updated: May 17, 2013 at 10:35 AM

A suspect in an international child porn investigation was arrested in northern California Wednesday a day after photographs of the man pulled from videos were released by federal authorities.

Also, a child that the man sexually abused in videos was identified and rescued, federal authorities said in a news release.

David J. Stevens, 58, was taken into custody in Salinas, Calif., by the city's police department. He appeared before a federal magistrate in San Jose, Calif., where the case will be prosecuted.
 
Stevens was located after a tip was called in to investigators, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.

Following Stevens' arrest, investigators obtained a search warrant for his home, where additional evidence related to the case was seized, officials said. 
 
Based upon interviews with witnesses, investigators believe there may be additional unidentified child victims.

The nationwide hunt began after Danish officials intercepted four sexually explicit videos May 3 that were produced in April. The videos showed a girl age 7 to 9 being sexually abused, investigators said.

The investigation moved overseas because of a bag of pretzels in the videos. U.S. investigators determined the style of packaging for the Frito-Lay Rold Gold thin pretzels was distributed only in the United States.

U.S. immigration authorities filed a criminal complaint and arrest warrant for the man Friday. At that time, U.S. investigators did not know the man's identity.

The investigation was of an urgent nature because authorities believed the girl was still being abused, officials said. Investigators asked for the public's help Wednesday, releasing images of the suspect pulled from one of the videos.

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