California Man Charged in Plainfield Cyber-Threat Case
Alleged to have extorted and made death threats to minor victims, and to use explosive devices at Plainfield and Danville High Schools.
Indianapolis –United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that a Bakersfield, California, man has been federally charged for his role in threatening to use explosive devices at Plainfield and Danville, Indiana High Schools, making cyber threats to female victims and producing child pornography. Buster Hernandez, 26, was charged with threats to use an explosive device, threats to injure and sexual exploitation of a child.
“Terrorizing young victims through the use of social media and hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet will not be tolerated by this office,” said Minkler. “Those who think they can outwit law enforcement and are above being caught should think again. Mr. Hernandez’s reign of terror is over.”
According to court documents, the Brownsburg Police Department contacted the FBI in December 2015, asking for assistance with a cyber-threat case involving a minor female victim (Victim 1), a resident of Plainfield Indiana. The threats came from a person known only at the time as “Brian Kil” who used Facebook to communicate with Victim 1 to extort sexually explicit pictures from her. This pattern continued for approximately 16 months with Victim 1 sending sexually explicit images of herself under threat by “Brian Kil.” This technique is commonly referred to as “sextortion.”
When Victim 1 refused to provide additional images as demanded, Hernandez is alleged to have made physical threats to Victim 1, stating “I am coming for you. I will slaughter your entire class and save you for last.” He further made threats to law enforcement saying, “I will add a dozen dead police to my tally…Try me pigs, I will finish you off as well.” These threats caused school administrators to close the Plainfield and Danville High Schools. The Shops at Perry Crossing in Plainfield was also closed December 19, 2015, but reopened the following day after law enforcement insured there were no credible threats.
Hernandez is also alleged to have sexually exploited and threatened two other minor victims (Victims 2 and 3). When Victim 2 stopped complying with Hernandez’s demands, he posted sexually explicit images and videos of Victim 2 that she sent to Hernandez against her will. According to the complaint affidavit, Hernandez asked Victim 3 to attend a community forum held in Plainfield, Indiana, and record law enforcement’s statements about the investigation into “Brian Kil.”
In addition, Hernandez is alleged to have “sextorted” a number of victims in at least 10 federal districts.
“This was a unique and complex investigation that highlights the tenacity, perseverance, expertise and dedication of the FBI Indianapolis’ Crimes Against Children Task Force and was a top priority. Innovative techniques were utilized, solutions to roadblocks created and partnerships with key private sector partners were developed,” said W. Jay Abbott, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. “I stood in front of concerned parents and community members and told them we would find the person who had been victimizing these young girls and, with the tireless work of our agents and partners, we never gave up.”
Hernandez had his initial appearance in the Eastern District of California on Friday, August 4, 2017, and will be transported by the United States Marshal Service to federal court in Indianapolis where he will face charges from the criminal complaint.
This investigation was jointly conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Indiana State Police, the Plainfield Police Department and the Brownsburg Police Department.
Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said, “I have no doubt Buster Hernandez had forgotten all about Plainfield, Indiana and the terror he inflicted; but none of us here forgot.” Carter concluded, “We said we’d keep looking until we found you, and we did.”
“The FBI told us that this would be a long investigation and they were right,” said Plainfield Police Chief Darel Krieger. “However, with dogged determination they have apprehended a person who they believe is the person who posed as Brian Kil. We are grateful not only to the FBI but to all the agencies involved in this investigation (federal state and local) and the great partnership that was shown over the past 20 months.”
“The Brownsburg Police Department is grateful for the opportunity to have personnel from our agency assigned to such a specialized criminal enforcement division such as the Internet Crimes Against Children,” said Chief Joe Grimes. “These partnerships between federal and local agencies allow for a vast availability of resources to safeguard our communities and demonstrate law enforcement’s commitment to protecting the innocent.”
According to Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany J. Preston who is prosecuting this case for the government, Hernandez faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment, and a maximum of 30 years’ imprisonment if convicted on all counts.
A criminal complaint is merely a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in federal court.
If you believe you have been a victim of sextortion by Buster Hernandez, a/k/a Brian Kil, please contact the Indianapolis FBI Office at https://tips.fbi.gov/ or call 317-595-4000, Option 2, to make a report.