Police: Local children extorted through social media
A man is accused of getting local children to produce child pornography by extorting them through their own social media accounts.
The Webster Police Department and the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force teamed up to investigate the case.
Police said a 13-year-old victim reported the online extortion to them, sparking the investigation.
Police said a man had hacked into the victims' social media accounts and threatened them in multiple ways into producing child pornography. Investigators said the victims then sent the images back to him online.
Detectives located one of the IP addresses used frequently by the suspect and search warrants were executed. Investigators said the evidence confirmed the suspect was Hugh Riley Ener, 22.
Ener was charged Wednesday with federal charges of producing, distributing and possession child pornography.
Webster police said Ener was able to get into a 13-year-old's email account and reset her password on Facebook. Once he had control of her accounts, he reached out to her and her friends, demanding more nude photos and video, threatening to post the photos he already had.
Police say one girl's mother also tried to intervene, but Ener was not deterred.
"It didn't stop him. The next day he was back, saying, 'your mom can't figure out who I am. She can go to police the police wouldn't find me,'" Nettles said.
"They tried to negotiate, they tried to stall, but they they eventually fell to the threats and they did what he asked," said Det. David Nettles of the Webster Police Department.
Nettles said Ener thought he was untraceable, and used WIFI from several San Jacinto Community College campuses, where he was a student.
Ener also allegedly used his mother's computer, and that IP address eventually led to his arrest.
Ener is now in federal custody, facing charges of producing, distributing and possession of child pornography.
Detectives believe there is a possibility of more victims who have not been identified. Any juveniles who have had similar online threats should call the Webster Police Department at 281-316-4169.