Tourist’s tip led to arrest in Nicaragua

A tourist visiting Nicaragua tipped the FBI about Toth’s presence here, and now could collect on the $100,000 reward

(posted April 23, 2:00 p.m.)- A tourist visiting Nicaragua provided the FBI with the tip that led to this week’s arrest and deportation of U.S. citizen and accused pedophile Eric Justin Toth, one of the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted fugitives.

An FBI source in Washington, D.C. told The Nicaragua Dispatch today that US authorities are currently evaluating the information provided from the tip to determine whether the unidentified tourist is now eligible to collect the $100,000 reward offered for Toth.

FBI Poster for Eric Toth

“A recent tip led law enforcement to Nicaragua, where Toth was living under an alias,” the FBI said today in its release. “Law enforcement was able to trace his recent movements and, through a recent purchase, locate him in Estelí, Nicaragua, where he was taken into custody.”

The FBI said Toth’s arrest was “the result of an exhaustive and well-coordinated investigation by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the FBI Legal Attaché, and Special Agents of the Diplomatic Security Service assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Managua.”

The FBI also praised Nicaraguan Police for helping to collar the fugitive who, for nearly five years, “eluded law enforcement despite the work of dedicated agents, officers, and intelligence analysts who sought his capture,” according to Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office.

“I would also like to thank our partners with the Nicaraguan National Police Commissioner’s Office, the Nicaraguan National Police Trafficking in Persons Unit, and the Nicaraguan Immigration Service for their crucial work in apprehending this fugitive,” Parlave said.

Toth made his first appearance this afternoon in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The former private school teacher is charged with the production and possession of child pornography and faces a minimum of 15 years in jail. Toth will remain in police custody until his trial starts on May 23.

“We did not waver in our search for Toth, and the investigation will continue to piece together his activities in Nicaragua and anywhere else he may have spent time since fleeing in 2008,” Parlave said. “Therefore, we ask anyone who believes they may have information about Eric Toth to please contact the FBI.”

She added, “As a result of the teamwork and cooperation of all involved, including the public, he will now be brought to justice for his crimes.”



  • Kathy Adams

    Tim, was here any information on what clues led the tourist to realize he might have been a suspect in this type of thing? It would perhaps help others if they knew what to look for. From the pictures, and his educational background (Purdue Univerisity) it is difficult for the average person to see him as a suspect.

    • Tim Rogers

      Hi Kathy, no the FBI didn’t offer any clues. But the FBI agent did say “He had been featured in countless national and international news reports and on billboards throughout the country.” So I guess whoever tipped the FBI recognized him from the media coverage in the US

      • Alvaro Cruz

        Well, the “regular tourist” wouldn’t recognize just from his memory an FBI top ten fugitive. It sounds to me more likely that there was some kind of intelligence work here.

  • James

    Nicaragua seems to be an attractive place for these sorts. After a Granada real estate broker orchestrated a deal in which the money I paid for some property disappeared, I investigated and found out he was a fugitive child molester from the US. I put the US Embassy police together with the Policia Nacional who worked to bring him back to the US where the judge merely gave him probation, which he promptly violated by returning to Nicaragua.

    So they did it all over again in 2005, and this time he was in the slammer up here for about six years, after which he returned again to Nicaragua. His name, which is a matter of public record, is Steven Wolf, and if you search his name and Nicaragua you will find all sorts of fun information. Apparently he has been continuing to make a name for himself.

    His wife – girlfriend at that time – who worked the deal with him was my Spanish teacher who now manages a school in the center of town. Her name is Maria Leticia Davila Bermudez, and this is also a matter of public record because she was prosecuted by the Granada prosecutor, although for some unexplained reason the judge threw the prosecutor’s case out of court. I am sure it is not because the judge was bribed with MY money.

    He got his freedom some three years ago, and he returned to Nicaragua to help his wife raise her three young girls. I don’t know where he is hanging now, but his fav hangout used to be El Club.

    To answer Kathy’s question, you need to be a sleuth or know one 😉

    (BTW, I don’t mean to indict the good real estate brokers in Granada, some of which were very helpful to me when I did business there.)

  • Carla Chamorro

    Besides being a “good” news to get the bastard:

    I don’t know how news people can be so blind….Actually the question should be: why this person fled to Nicaragua and why and how was he able to survive there for 3 (?) years. That should be the real quest, who is behind the criminal.

  • Alvaro Cruz

    None of the Nicaraguan newspapers or online media explains how he lived. I wonder how many Eric Toth are left in Nicaragua and I would like to know how the regular citizen can see signs of alarm about a troublemaker foreigner in his or her neighborhood. I’m not being xenofobic of course, and I know 99% of foreign people living in Nicaragua or Central America are decent working people, but this kind of episodes makes me wonder how to detect the bad ones.

    • LastoftheZucchiniFlowers

      Aren’t there a LOT of US-tax free ‘religious groups’ living in and around Esteli? I think they are prime hiding places for dirbags like this who shroud themselves in the name of ‘religion’ and lure young children with a bottle of nail polish or a spong-bob doll. That’s how kids disappear and are then trafficked into a life of sexual slavery. I hope they hang this puke from his entrails and let him dangle till he dies.

  • Ken

    As a random observation (about which I’d like to see hard data) I have noticed over the years that the FBI and similar crime-fighting outfits rarely catch serious bad guys on their own. Apprehension is invariably the result of citizen initiative.

    Although this emphasizes the civic responsibilities of ordinary people, it also prompts me to wonder why we throw so much money away on outfits like the FBI. This article, which seems to have been based upon an FBI source, sings the praises of the FBI, when in reality the guy was apprehended because a civil-minded person did their duty.

  • stc

    This is disinformation…they probably are saying this to prevent others from understanding their technological assets. They tracked him through the use of fake credit cards and by his online use. They knew he was here last year just could not locate him as he was using cash. The first charge he made on pirated credit cards led to his approximate location. From there they did a great job of using the store owners to help locate his house. The next step in this investigation is taking down some of his friends who he shared pics with. He is now a cooperating witness against others as a means to reduce jail time. Sad but true story. If anyone gets the 100K it will be the Nica federal police who did an awesome job on this case as well as several others lately. There are many more in the works!

  • stc

    All one has to do is look at the FBI wanted poster pics and then compare them to his arrest photos. No untrained eye would have connected the 2.