BY FLORENCE F. HIBIONADA
Senior Reporter, Philippine News Service (PNS)
ILOILO CITY, PHILIPPINES – Joint operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Western Visayas Regional Office (WEVRO) 6 and the Bureau of Immigration captured here a longtime American fugitive.
Wanted in the US for 11 sexual offenses including rape, two counts of child abuse, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and three counts of forcible sodomy, arrested was 39 year-old David Wayne Altman Greth.
The arrest was made following the earlier Iloilo visit of a federal agent of the United States (US) Government and NBI WEVRO 6 meeting with the Legal Attache’ of the US Embassy in Manila.
Subject of an arrest warrant issued back in October 20, 2006, Greth has since been declared a fugitive and was the focus of an intensive manhunt by American authorities.
A native of Portsmouth , Virginia , Greth was among the featured criminals in “ America ’s Most Wanted” and dubbed by the Virginia Examiner news daily as “one of the worst types of criminals.”
Added to his strings of “Level 4”criminal offenses was the charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for the crimes of indecent liberties with children.
Philippine News Service (PNS) in a report learned of the investigation conducted by the Portsmouth Police that disclosed years of sexual abuse perpetuated by Greth to his helpless victims. He fled the US and arrived in the country in 2006 as charges were pursued by the victims’ families.
It was not immediately clear who provided local refuge to Greth however the NBI 6 here worked on series of information provided by civilian informants. The tips, PNS also learned, started out as concern on the highly-suspicious presence of a Caucasian in the area.
Corresponding NBI 6 validation then disclosed Greth’s “Wanted” status. As such, with the US Government and American intelligence counterparts on Greth’s trail, NBI WEVRO 6 Regional Director Elfren Meneses Jr. lost no time and ordered a collaborative manhunt.
“We are officially confirming the capture of American Criminal, David Wayne Altman Greth here in Iloilo City , Philippines . In close coordination with the United States Embassy officials and our Philippine counterparts in the Bureau of Immigration, we have effected Greth’s arrest and subsequent deportation back to the United States . It was one successful joint operation done in the presence of officials of the United States Embassy in Manila ,” NBI WEVRO 6 Director Meneses said in an official statement released to the media. “I would like to thank our civilian informants and the dedicated NBI 6 team headed by Investigation Agent Arnold Diaz entrusted to lead the joint operations. David Wayne Altman Greth was captured in the Iloilo City Proper area. We are also confirming that he has set-up temporary residence in Molo District and illegally worked in an English tutorial center. Our investigation further disclosed his previous stay in Bacolod City and Province of Capiz where he assumed several identities. David Wayne Altman Greth is now in custody of American authorities.”
Tasked to lead the NBI 6 team was Investigation Agent Diaz who successfully led the region’s operations. Both noted lawyers by profession, Meneses and Diaz incessantly worked on the case build-up alongside Federal agents and US Embassy officials.
“Greth’s capture is yet another example of what we can do as a community,” Meneses said in a PNS exclusive. “While we certainly value the presence of our American visitors and other foreign guests in the Philippines , the likes of Greths have no place in our society. The bureau is and will always be a partner of the US Government and other governments in pursuit of justice.”
No further details were officially released on the circumstances surrounding Greth’s capture. Independent PNS investigation gathered though that it was “at least six weeks” of intensified NBI 6 surveillance following a positive identification that finally nailed Greth’s arrest.
An application for Greth’s deportation was sought and approved thereafter by Philippine authorities with the US Embassy in Manila facilitating the immediate trip back to the US .
Prior to his arrest, highly-placed sources told PNS that Greth’s Iloilo stay generated at least 30 confirmed acquaintances with young Ilonggo women he pursued in one social networking site.
An apparent pattern was set with Greth befriending these young women aged 16 to 21 as he posted comments with sexual undertones. He also gained “popularity” among the commercial sex workers in the city’s Molo District who knew him by his aliases. Family members from both the Altmans and the Greths side were also known to have communicated with Greth through said networking site.
NBI 6’s capture of Greth is the latest in the string of covert operations entrusted to the bureau under the administration of Director Meneses.
“The bureau is grateful to the continued trust and confidence of the community that helped us and the US Government to capture this American criminal,” Investigation Agent Diaz said. “We pray and trust that justice will now fully be served to Greth’s victims and their families. Now yet another battle begins in American soil and we at the NBI 6 are happy to have been able to help make it happen.”