Maricopa man wanted on child pornography charges arrested in Texas

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MARICOPA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Maricopa man wanted on child pornography charges was arrested Tuesday in Texas, according to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.


Michael Bjornstad, 43, is accused of downloading more than 100 videos and images of children as young as infants being sexually abused.


The Arizona Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force began investigating peer-to-peer file sharing of child pornography out of Maricopa in January. The task force and the sheriff's office served a search warrant on Bjornstad's home on March 11.


When they could not locate Bjornstad, they obtained an arrest warrant charging him with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and contacted the U.S. Marshals Service for help.


"The depraved behavior of individuals willing to engage in activities which encourage the sexual abuse of our youth to occur is equal to those abusing these children," Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said in a statement. "While in Pinal County, we know he had access to two young children, and we continue to investigate any potential abuse which might have occurred due to that access.”


The U.S. Marshals Service Lone Star Fugitive Task Force located Bjornstad in Granger, Texas, about an hour northeast of Austin. He was taken into custody without incident.


"Fugitives are a continuous threat to the public as they attempt to avoid apprehension," U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said in a statement. "The arrest of Mr. Bjornstad, and others like him, who have a history of violence, remain a priority to the Marshals Service and our law enforcement partners."


According to the sheriff's office, Bjornstad will be booked and extradited back to Pinal County. 

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