Child porn fugitive nabbed in the Philippines

EVERETT — The long arm of the law has reached more than 6,700 miles to nab a Snohomish County fugitive in the Philippines.

Richard Michael Chartier, 54, had been on the radar of the Snohomish County Violent Offender Task Force and U.S. Marshal’s Office since December. He’s charged in Snohomish County Superior Court with possessing and dealing in child pornography.

Agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security allegedly found nearly 1,000 computer images and videos depicting child pornography after searching his Lynnwood apartment in September 2012, according to court records. Many of the images reportedly were of adults sexually abusing pre-teen children.

A judge issued a $75,000 bench warrant for Chartier’s arrest in July 2013. The suspect went to Japan several months earlier but had not returned, according to court papers.

The case was turned over to the violent offender task force. Law officers followed leads and tracked Chartier to the Philippines, task force Sgt. Keith Rogers said. Federal authorities made the arrest near the U.S. Embassy earlier this week.

“Really what it came down to was different agencies working together,” Rogers said.

The arrest followed close cooperation among the task force, marshal’s office and the U.S. Department of State.

In January 2013, the U.S. Marshal’s Office began working directly with the state Department of Corrections and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, pooling their expertise and resources to catch fugitives. It also works closely with several local police departments and the Washington State Patrol.

One of the task force’s top priorities is to track down sex offenders.

“These partnerships are meaningful,” Rogers said. “They make a difference.”

More than 90 percent of the task force’s arrests occur from within the boundaries of Snohomish County.

The arrest in the Philippines serves notice to fugitives that distance doesn’t guarantee freedom.

The task force has tracked down suspects as far away as Thailand and Nepal, Rogers said.

“They are popping up all over the world,” he said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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