MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLNS) — Two Nigerian brothers pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Thursday on charges of conspiracy to sexually exploit minors, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

The brothers were extradited to the United States from Nigeria on Aug. 13, on charges related to an international sexual extortion ring that caused the death of a Marquette teenager from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on March 25, 2022.

Samuel Ogoshi, 22, and Samson Ogoshi, 20, of Lagos are accused of sexual extortion of several young men and teenage boys in Michigan and across the United States. Samuel Ogoshi is charged with sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor in a case associated with the death of 17-year-old Jordan DeMay of Marquette.

“My office is fully prepared to present the facts of the case during a fair trial,” said Mark Totten, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Mekaru and Davin Reust are prosecuting the case. The FBI, the Marquette Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police Cybercrimes Unit in Marquette are investigating, with the cooperation and assistance of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Nigeria.

The story of the brothers’ crimes and extradition to the United States has been prominent in Nigerian media headlines, as well as in the United States.

The charges against the brothers are as follows, according to the DOJ:

  • Count 1, charges Samuel Ogoshi with Sexual Exploitation and Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor Resulting in Death in association with the death of Jordan DeMay
  • Count 2, charges both men with Conspiracy to Sexually Exploit Minors by causing the minors to produce child pornographic images that the defendants then used to blackmail the minors; carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a mandatory minimum of 15 years
  • Count 3, charges both men with Conspiracy to Distribute Child Pornography for sending the child pornography images to the minors, as well as their families and friends; carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a minimum penalty of 5 years
  • Count 4, charges both men with Conspiracy to Commit Stalking Through the Internet, for engaging in the sextortion scheme as it relates to both minors and young adults; maximum penalty of 5 years in prison
  • All charges have provisions for fines, restitution and supervised release after their release from prison, according to the DOJ

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with a population of over 200 million, and Lagos is consistently listed as Africa’s most populous city. The so-called epidemic of internet fraud in the country has been attributed to widespread poverty, unemployment and lack of economic opportunity for the country’s rapidly growing youth population.