By Myesha Johnson | The Detroit News
Two Nigerian men accused of being part of an online sextortion ring were extradited to the United States on Sunday, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan.
At a press conference Sunday at Grand Rapids’ Gerald Ford International Airport and streamed on Facebook live, officials said Samuel Ogoshi, 22, and Samson Ogoshi, 20, had arrived at the airport around 11:15 a.m. to be indicted for international “sextortion,” or extorting money or sexual favors from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity, allegedly leading to the death of a Marquette teenager.
The two defendants are scheduled to appear Monday in a federal courthouse in Grand Rapids, officials said.
U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said Ezekiel Ejehem Robert, 19, was also involved in the crime but has yet to be extradited from Nigeria.
“On May 3rd of this year, I announced that our office had filed an indictment against these two defendants plus an additional defendant, Ezekial Robert aged 19, also a Nigerian national. The extradition proceedings are underway as to this third defendant, and we are optimistic that he will be extradited as well,” Totten said.
Two agents from Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as well as Devin Kowalski, an FBI agent, were at the airport Sunday announcing the partnership with Nigerian law enforcement that led to the arrests in Africa.
All three men will be charged with conspiracy to sexually exploit minors, which carries a sentence of 15-30 years; conspiracy to distribute child pornography, which has a sentence of 5-20 years; and conspiracy to commit stalking through the internet, which has a maximum sentence of five years.
Officials said Samuel Ogoshi directly communicated with 17-year-old Jordan DeMay of Marquette using a fake Instagram account with the username “@dani.robertts” that sexually extorted Jordan before he committed suicide. Samuel Ogoshi will also be charged for sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor resulting in death, which has a minimum penalty of 30 years to life in prison, officials said.
Kowalski, the acting special agent in charge for FBI Michigan, said charging suspects outside of the U.S. and securing extradition for those subjects is rare.
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“Less than a week after Jordan’s tragic death, agents and professional staff across FBI Michigan began working tirelessly to find answers for the family,” said Kowalski. “This was a multi-faceted investigation that involved identifying hundreds of victims, following the digital footprints left behind by these ‘sextortionists’ left behind on the internet, tracking the payments made by victims through multiple financial entities, and working with our overseas office in Nigeria.
“The number of sextortion cases involving children and teens being threatened and coerced into sending explicit images has more than doubled since the pandemic,” Kowalski said.
Three other Nigerian men allegedly involved in the same sextortion ring were arrested by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and will go through Nigeria’s criminal justice system for their crime, according to a release from the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan.