TUCSON, Ariz. — Less than 24 hours after federal authorities made a national announcement appealing to the public for leads in three unsolved child pornography cases, a second suspect has been arrested and the child victim in the case identified.
Lance Robert Fries, 43, of Tucson, was taken into custody at his attorney's North Tucson office without incident at approximately 1:45 p.m. Friday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Fries faces potential federal charges of production of child pornography and is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court Monday.
Fries' arrest came after HSI released photographs Thursday of an unidentified man sought in connection with a child pornography case that involved the sexual exploitation of a pre-pubescent boy by an adult male. At approximately 11:15 p.m. Thursday, HSI special agents received a call to the ICE Tip Line regarding the suspect's possible identity.
Investigators were able to identify the victim and confirm that the boy is now safe. In order to protect the privacy of the victim, no further details are being released about his identity or relationship to the suspect. HSI will provide direct victim assistance to the child and his family members and provide referrals and resources.
"This is truly a remarkable turn of events and it again demonstrates the collective power that can be brought to bear when law enforcement and the public team up to combat the sexual exploitation of children," said ICE Director John Morton. "Those who produce and trade child pornography over the Internet believe they're protected by the anonymity of cyberspace. Through our collective efforts, we're proving these predators wrong and gaining justice for their innocent victims."
The child pornography images in this case were first discovered by HSI special agents in Portland, Ore., in 2006. The material was submitted to the Child Victim Identification Program operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which determined the victim had not yet been identified and was not linked with other known child pornography images.
The announcement of the unsolved case was made in connection with HSI's Operation Sunflower, a recently concluded enforcement action aimed at rescuing victims and targeting individuals who own, trade and produce child pornography. Operation Sunflower was conducted as 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 encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form at www.ice.gov. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office – District of Arizona in Tucson.