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Press Release

Winona Man Pleads Guilty to Child Exploitation Charges After Targeting More Than 60 Young Girls in Online Sextortion Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Winona man has pleaded guilty for his online sextortion scheme that victimized more than 60 minor girls across the country and abroad, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

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.

Quintana pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court before Judge Jerry W. Blackwell to one count of production of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography.

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.

Updated June 27, 2024

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