A Jersey City man who was arrested in a statewide sex offender sting in July has been indicted for allegedly requesting explicit pictures from minors, Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck announced.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Ndachi Ndungu, 25, of Jersey City, is accused of attempted manufacturing child sexual exploitation or abuse material, theft by extortion, and cyber harassment.
“With the prevalence of online communications in today’s life, protecting children online is paramount. We will continue to investigate and prosecute sexual predators who use social media and gaming platforms to exploit children,” Bruck said in a statement.
Ndungu was among the 31 individuals charged with sexually exploiting children online in “Operation 24/7,” a collaborative operation launched to address the continued spike in reports of potential threats to children from online predators during the COVID pandemic.
Ndungu was arrested in this operation after he allegedly attempted to extort a 12-year-old-girl to send him sexually explicit photos of herself.
Further investigation by the New Jersey State Police and Division of Criminal Justice revealed that Ndungu allegedly chatted with numerous other potential victims between the ages of 7 and 15 on Discord.
He allegedly would obtain an image of the child and then threaten to share it on social media or threaten to report the victim to Discord. He also allegedly threatened the children until they agreed to send more explicit photos.
Deputy Attorney General Jamie Picard presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Lilianne Daniel, Bureau Chief Jillian Carpenter, and DCJ Deputy Director Annmarie Taggart.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000, and fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $10,000.
Theft by extortion is a No Early Release Act (“N.E.R.A.”) charge that mandates 85% percent of sentences served before becoming eligible for parole.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.