Wednesday, August 2, 2006

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Attorney General Abbott's Cyber Crimes Unit Arrests Immigration Agent For Soliciting Child Online

BROWNSVILLE – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit investigators arrested an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Monday in Cameron County on a warrant for online solicitation of a minor and criminal attempted sexual performance by a child.

Michael Aaron Walker, 43, of Albuquerque, N.M., was taken into custody at the federal courthouse in Brownsville after he allegedly engaged in graphic sexual conversations with an undercover sheriff’s officer from San Mateo County, Calif., who had assumed the online identity of a 13-year-old girl.

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Michael Aaron Walker
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The investigation was referred to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which requested assistance from the Texas Attorney General's Cyber Crimes Unit in developing the case and making the arrest.

“Online predators are relentless in their pursuit of our children, and we must remain one step ahead of them,” said Attorney General Abbott. “I commend the San Mateo County’s Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos for their outstanding work in helping our Cyber Crimes Unit. Through partnerships with local and federal law enforcement agencies, our Cyber Crimes officers can continue their efforts to protect children across Texas.”

Walker allegedly initiated contact with the undercover California detective in an online chatroom in March 2006, showing graphic images and video of himself to someone he believed was an underage child. At the time of the alleged incident, he was living and working in Cameron County. He was later transferred to New Mexico in a move unrelated to the investigation.

Walker was arrested without incident by Cyber Crimes Unit investigators and is being held in the Cameron County Jail.

Online solicitation of a minor and criminal attempted sexual performance by a child are third-degree felonies punishable by up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Attorney General Abbott has made pursuing sexual predators a top priority in his administration. The Cyber Crimes Unit, which targets online predators, and the Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children, have combined for over 470 arrests of such offenders since Abbott took office in December 2002. His office also has obtained convictions against 45 men on child pornography charges.

To find out more about Attorney General Abbott’s efforts to crack down on sexual predators, visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or call (800) 252-8011.