(STL.News) – In San Antonio today, a federal magistrate ordered that a 21-year-old local university student be detained without bond pending trial for allegedly enticing minors into engaging in sexually explicit conduct, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
During a detention hearing this morning, U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Farrer ruled that Felipe Jesus Duran of Atascosa, TX, poses a threat to the community and should remain in federal custody while litigation is pending. On October 15, 2019, federal and state authorities arrested Duran based on a federal criminal complaint charging him with enticement of a minor and extortion as well as production, receipt and possession of child pornography.
According to the criminal complaint unsealed today as well as courtroom testimony, since September 2018, Duran has used Internet accessible devices to entice a minor female into sending him nude photographs. Duran then used those photographs to extort the minor, claiming he would release the sexually explicit photographs to her family and friends if she did not provide additional images of sexual activity, including requiring her to enter real time video chat rooms where she was expected to perform sexual acts for adult males.
Upon conviction, the defendant faces up to life in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.
During the hearing, testimony confirmed the presence of additional child victims, male and female. To that note, if you have information about this defendant or his scheme, you are asked to contact the Office of the Attorney General at (512) 475-4565 or the San Antonio FBI at 210-225-6741. Tips can also be submitted online at https://tips.fbi.gov.
The San Antonio FBI’s Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Texas Attorney General’s Office are conducting this investigation. This case marks the first arrest by a state grant-funded investigation position in the Texas Attorney General’s Office that focuses on sexual coercion.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bettina Richardson is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.