The case of Brother Toby
A popular Salvadoran Christian evangelical minister remains in the custody of US federal authorities in Houston, Texas. According to news stories, Edgar Lopez Bertrand, known as "Brother Toby" was arrested in Houston for falsely claiming that a young girl was his daughter on a passport application. Because he is a naturalized US citizen, the false passport declaration obtained US citizenship for his purported daughter as well. He is said to be working out a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Brother Toby is one of the highest profile evangelical preachers in El Salvador. Since his May 16 arrest, his story has been front page news in El Salvador. He leads the church the Baptist Biblical Tabernacle Friends of Israel, which has 80,000 members in EL Salvador. He also heads a television channel, a radio station, and a newspaper. His ministry has spread to the Internet as well. The web site of the church reports that 12 inmates have been converted in Christianity while Brother Toby was in custody with them. The faithful of his flock have been holding prayer vigils and tying yellow ribbons in hopes of his liberation from US custody.