Steven Dyer is wanted in Arizona after failing to show up for a court appearance. He was convicted in 2002 on 13 counts of child molestation and faces a minimum term of 169 years behind bars.
According to the Canada Border Services Agency, Dyer assumed the identity of a Canadian citizen and was living in Vancouver.
Border-services agents say they learned he was outside the country and they nabbed him as he passed through Montreal's Trudeau airport, as he was returning from Venezuela on Tuesday night.
Dyer was featured on episodes of the U.S. show, "America's Most Wanted," over the last two years. The show described him as a pharmaceutical sales rep in Scottsdale, Ariz., who had a clean criminal history and volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
"(He) portrayed himself as a wealthy, upstanding citizen with a heart of gold, always willing to go out of his way to help others," says the show's website.
"But between 1999 and 2001, Dyer did the unthinkable."
It said he befriended a young boy — giving him alcohol and taking him on trips to gain his trust — before repeatedly abusing him for more than 18 months. He was later accused of committing similar acts on another boy.
After his first court appearance, the show said, Dyer managed to convince a judge to lower his bail amount — from $2.5 million, to $100,000.
He posted the bond and, after showing up to several pre-trial hearings he disappeared in January 2002. A warrant was issued for his arrest on Jan. 7, 2002. He was convicted of child molestation in absentia, three months later.
The show said investigators later learned that Dyer obtained two U.S. state driver's licences and applied for a passport, using his brother's name, and had been spotted throughout the southwestern U.S.
Dyer now faces extradition proceedings in Canada. Authorities said there was some discussion Wednesday about whether Dyer should be charged with illegal entry into Canada, or whether he should be shipped immediately back to the U.S.
"There are different scenarios that are being studied," said Veronique Lalime, a spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency.
"He might face criminal changes in Canada or there's also the possibility of extradition."