U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is asking Tampa Bay residents to be on the lookout for Eric Bell, a fugitive wanted on sex trafficking, child pornography and other charges. His case was featured this past Saturday on "America's Most Wanted" television program, which has generated several new tips about his possible whereabouts.
Bell was last seen in Tampa on Feb. 2.
Here is new press release from ICE:
Tampa Bay fugitive profiled on ‘America's Most Wanted’ generates new leads
TAMPA, Fla. – Since the profiling of a federal fugitive wanted for sex trafficking of a minor in Tampa was aired on the national television program “America's Most Wanted” on Saturday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE's) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents say that more than a dozen new leads have been generated.
The agents and their partners on the Clearwater Area Task Force Against Human Trafficking (CATFHT) are hopeful that at least half of those tips are strong enough to lead them to his capture.
Bell was last seen near Tampa on Feb. 2 driving a black Ford Excursion or Expedition. He's a black male, 5 feet, 9 inches tall and approximately 185 pounds. He has road rash scars on his midsection from a motorcycle accident and a tattoo across his chest reads, "Eric loves Vickie." He has past criminal convictions ranging from larceny to possession of and intent to distribute cocaine.
Bell is wanted for sex trafficking of a minor victim, producing child pornography and other charges. A federal criminal complaint was filed in the Middle District of Florida on Jan. 3, 2011.
On June 11, the program profiled Bell as one of most wanted fugitives in America during the show’s “Be On the Look Out” (BOLO) segment.
“Few crimes are more heinous than the sex trafficking of minor victims, which is why Bell is at the top of our ‘most wanted’ list,” said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Tampa. “Seeing this case prosecuted is a top priority for my office and for our law enforcement partners on the Clearwater Area Task Force Against Human Trafficking. We are hopeful that someone saw the show and will provide details that lead to his arrest."
If you have information related to Bell's whereabouts, please call ICE HSI at (813) 357-7130 or Clearwater Police Department at (727) 562-4916.
Clearwater Area Task Force Against Human Trafficking (CATFHT) is made up of investigators from the Clearwater Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and several other local, state and federal agencies.
For more information on the CATFTH, visit http://catfht.org/.