MINNEAPOLIS – A Winona man has been charged in an online sextortion scheme that victimized more than 60 minor girls across the country and abroad, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
"Online predators are using social media apps to befriend, coerce, and ultimately extort children and teens," said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger. "Thousands of minor victims have been the target of this horrific exploitation. It's imperative that we as a community engage with our kids about sextortion schemes so we can prevent them in the first place."
According to court documents, between April 2022 and June 2023, Valentin Silva Quintana, 30, used social media apps, including Snapchat and Instagram, to threaten, sexually manipulate, and exploit more than 60 young girls primarily between 9 and 12 years old in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Zealand and elsewhere. Quintana, who knew that most of the girls were between 9 and 12 years of age, used fake identities and lied about his age in communications with the girls, posing as a minor girl himself. He used images and videos of youthful appearing girls to make his communications with other victims more believable.
According to court documents, Quintana used a wide range of tactics to coerce his victims, sometimes by convincing young girls that he was their friend or romantic partner, or by offering them money. But most frequently, he convinced young girls to send him a sexual photo or video or covertly recorded them engaging in sexually explicit conduct and then threatened to send the first image to their friends and family unless the girls produced ever more graphic sexual images and videos for him. He continued this type of sextortion even as his victims wept and begged him to stop.
"The sexual exploitation of Minnesota's children is horrific and tragic but never more so than when the offenses also include the physical assault of the young victims," BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said. "Our Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force will continue to partner with local law enforcement to root out those who commit these acts and help bring them to justice."
"Today's indictment sends a crucial message to all predators – we will not allow any crimes against our most vulnerable population to go unpunished," said Jamie Holt, special agent in charge for HSI St. Paul. "HSI is dedicated to protecting our children against sexual predators who seek to take advantage of their innocence by working with our federal, state and local partners to bring people like Quintana to justice."
The indictment charges Quintana with thirteen counts of production of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography. Quintana made his initial appearance today in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Cowan Wright. Quintana was ordered to remain in custody pending further court proceedings.
To date, more than 60 minor girls have been identified, although law enforcement believes there may be additional victims. Anyone who believes they may have information about this matter is encouraged to contact Homeland Security Investigations through the toll-free tip line at 1-866-347-2423.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Winona County Sheriff's Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McBride is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.