FBI’s most-wanted porn fugitive arrested in Spain
A man on the FBI’s list of ten most-wanted fugitives was arrested in Spain earlier this week, the US agency has revealed. New Zealand citizen Michael James Pratt had fled the US after being sentenced to life behind bars, on charges of sexual exploitation, production of child pornography and sexual assault.
In a statement released on Friday, the FBI revealed that Pratt, who had been on the run since 2019, was apprehended on Wednesday in Madrid. The arrest was based on an Interpol Red Notice – a worldwide request to law enforcement to detain a person, pending extradition or similar legal action.
Pratt is currently awaiting extradition in Spanish custody.
Commenting on the arrest, FBI agent Stacey Moy of the San Diego Field Office said: “The capture of Michael Pratt is an example of how the FBI will pursue justice beyond US borders – you can run but you can’t hide.”
The official went on to thank the Spanish National Police, the US Marshals Service, the US Department of Homeland Security, and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for “their coordination in the arrest of Michael Pratt.”
Spanish authorities, in turn, noted that this was the first time a criminal on the FBI’s most-wanted list had been apprehended in the country.
The Guardian newspaper reported that the man had been staying at a hotel under a false identity.
According to the US judiciary, Pratt was involved in the audiovisual production of pornographic recordings, and raking in $17 million from the illegal activities. He was also accused of recruiting underage girls and young women through deception between 2012 and 2019.
He is believed to have placed online advertisements in the US and Canada offering “modeling” jobs to lure his victims into the porn industry. Some of those girls and women were held and forced to perform sexual practices against their will, US authorities say.