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FBI: Tip led to arrest of ex-professor in Mexico

Posted: June 20, 2013 7:00 a.m.
Updated: June 20, 2013 7:00 a.m.
 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former University of Southern California professor who's accused of sex crimes involving two children has been deported to the United States after a Mexican citizen recognized his picture in the newspaper and informed the U.S. Embassy, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Walter Lee Williams, 64, will appear in a Los Angeles federal courtroom Thursday to face charges of sexual exploitation of children and traveling abroad for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with children. He had been placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list Monday.

A tip from a Mexican citizen who saw a photograph in a local newspaper and contacted the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City led to Williams' arrest by Mexican authorities, said Bill Lewis, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office. The tipster is eligible for the $100,000 reward.

Williams was captured late Tuesday while drinking coffee near a park in the resort town of Playa del Carmen after Mexican authorities created a ruse to lure him to his local coffee shop, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. He was living under a false name, Eimiller said.

Prosecutor Gaspar Armando Garcia Torres said in Cancun, Mexico, that it wasn't clear how long Williams had been living in Playa del Carmen and that the fugitive also had an address in nearby Cancun, where he was taken and turned over to Mexican immigration officials.

Garcia Torres did not say whether Williams is suspected of committing any crimes in Mexico.

Williams left the resort city of Cancun on Wednesday evening accompanied by two U.S. officials on an LA-bound Virgin America flight.

Evidence indicates that Williams has at least 10 alleged victims including the 14-year-old boys cited in a federal indictment. Investigators believe he has more victims and have not ruled out additional charges in the case, as evidence shows Williams expressed an interest and pursued victims younger than 14, Eimiller said.

Williams' arrest is the culmination of a two-year investigation that began in 2011 and required federal agents to travel to foreign countries to interview possible victims, witnesses and their families.

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