WASHINGTON, D.C. - John Wrenshall, 62, was arrested today at Heathrow Airport on charges of conspiring to travel in foreign commerce with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with children; aiding and abetting sex tourism; and conspiracy to produce, production of, and distribution of child pornography.
Wrenshall, a Canadian citizen living in Thailand, was arrested at London's Heathrow International Airport early this morning by London's Metropolitan Police Service (MET) with agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). A provisional arrest warrant had been issued for Wrenshall through coordination with British officials, MET, ICE and the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division's Office of International Affairs. Wrenshall is being detained pending extradition from the United Kingdom.
"ICE investigates sex tourism aggressively with the help of our international offices and law enforcement partners," said Matthew J. Etre, acting special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Newark, NJ. "This case demonstrates our international resolve to ensure that those who prey on our children do not go unpunished."
A grand jury in the District of New Jersey returned an indictment against Wrenshall on Aug. 25, 2008. Wrenshall is charged with one count of conspiracy to engage in sex tourism, two counts of aiding and abetting sex tourism, one count of conspiracy to produce child pornography, seven counts of production of child pornography, and seven counts of distribution of child pornography. The charges stem from Wrenshall's alleged involvement with U.S. citizens who traveled to Thailand to sexually abuse children and produce visual depictions of that abuse. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison for each count of sex tourism, a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison for each count of child pornography production, and up to 15 years in prison for distribution of child pornography. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000 per count.
According to the unsealed indictment and court documents, Wrenshall had frequent access to Thai boys, some as young as 6 years old, at his Thailand home. As charged in the indictment, from at least as early as May 2000, Wrenshall helped arrange trips to his home during which U.S. citizens and others paid Wrenshall to engage in sexual acts with the boys, sometimes for weeks at a time. Wrenshall's customers were allowed to videotape and photograph their abuse. An indictment is merely a charge and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case was investigated by ICE and INTERPOL.