Oct. 17—CHEYENNE — The FBI is warning of increased cases in Wyoming of what it calls “sextortion,” or an adult coercing a minor to send them explicit images or perform explicit acts over a webcam.
Perpetrators of sextortion will then threaten the child or teen with harm or with distribution of earlier images if they begin to resist, the FBI says.
A more recent trend, according to officials, is offenders asking for a monetary payment from the minor in exchange for not releasing explicit images. This scheme seems to target boys between 14 and 17 years old.
In 2022, “almost 80% of offenders are seeking money from the victims,” said Leonard Carollo, one of three assistant special agents in charge at the FBI’s Denver field office. Carollo oversees all criminal investigations in Colorado and Wyoming. He couldn’t give specific numbers, but he said a “significant” amount of these offenders live outside the U.S.
Although “any kind of online sexual exploitation can occur anywhere in the world,” officials have recently noticed an increase in reported cases in Wyoming, Carollo said in a Thursday interview.
In one recent case, a Bangladeshi national was arrested in Malaysia for allegedly running a sextortion operation with hundreds of minor victims in the U.S. and elsewhere. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Alaska earlier this month unsealed a 13-count indictment charging Zobaidul Amin, 24, in what it called “one of the most malicious, digitally facilitated sextortion and child pornography production schemes investigated to date by the FBI.”
About a dozen of those victims were Wyoming children and teens, Carollo said.
The FBI worked “very closely” with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to identify the alleged victims, interview them and provide victim services, Carollo said.Sextortion