BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A Bakersfield-area man who absconded following his indictment three months ago on federal child pornography charges is the latest fugitive to be profiled on a recently launched smartphone app developed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enlist the public's help seeking at-large and unknown child predator suspects.
Michael David Wilson, 30, was indicted July 25 for receiving and distributing child pornography and a warrant was issued for his arrest. According to the charges, the former office worker received and distributed child pornography over the Internet from about Sept. 3, 2012, through approximately April 25 of this year. At that time, Wilson was residing in Delano.
Shortly before the charges were filed, Wilson traveled outside the country. Upon returning to the U.S., Wilson told inspecting officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection that he was en route to the Sacramento area to live with relatives. However, despite extensive efforts, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents have been unable to locate the defendant, although it is believed he may still be in northern California.
"Today we're asking for the public's help to locate a person who allegedly preyed on vulnerable children," said the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, Benjamin B. Wagner. "We will not stop pursuing justice for the victims in this case. The U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to work with HSI to fight the scourge of child exploitation."
Wilson's mug shot, along with his biographical information, are now posted on ICE's Operation Predator App, which has been downloaded more than 80,000 times since its launch in mid-September. The app can be downloaded from Apple's App Store or from iTunes. Tips from the public can be reported anonymously through the app, by phone or online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Within hours of its launch, the app resulted in the capture in Detroit of one of the profiled fugitives.
HSI requests that anyone with information about Wilson or any of the other fugitives profiled on the app contact the agency in one of two ways:
- Call the ICE Tip Line, which is staffed 24-hours a day
- (866) 347-2423 from the U.S. & Canada
- (802) 872-6199 from anywhere in the world
- Complete an online tip form at www.ice.gov/tips/
Individuals should not attempt to apprehend the suspect personally.
ICE's Operation Predator App allows users to receive alerts about wanted predators, to share the information with friends via email and social media tools, and to provide information to HSI by calling or submitting an online tip. Additionally, the app allows users to view news about the arrest and prosecution of child predators and obtain information about ICE and its global partners in the fight against child exploitation.
This launch of the new app is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.