CINCINNATI -- Two men face federal sex charges, accused of holding a 14-year-old girl in a Clermont County apartment so they could use her for child pornography.
Eric Zyn Ho, 25, and Bryan Mathew Otero, 27, are charged with conspiracy to sex traffic children and conspiracy to produce child pornography.
Both Ho and Otero entered not guilty pleas at an arraignment hearing Wednesday in federal court.
A federal grand jury returned the indictment last week, alleging they'd conspired to keep the girl and have her to engage in a commercial sex act. Ho and Otero also allegedly conspired to coerce the girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of creating child pornography, according to U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman.
Glassman said the investigation is ongoing and “it’s possible that there could be other charges later.” He said human trafficking and child pornography are huge problems across the country.
“Probably if we wanted to we could do nothing but bring child pornography cases,” Glassman said.
Angela Byers, special agent in charge of Cincinnati’s FBI Office, said the internet has only made matters worse.
“With the internet explosion and the dark web they have the ability to communicate with each other and set up their groups to communicate with those like-minded individuals,” Byers said.
The girl went missing from her home in Lake County, Indiana -- southeast of Chicago -- in late April.
She was found May 2 at the East Pointe Apartments in Clermont County's Union Township. A neighbor, Brandie Boone, said Ho and Otero had been living there for more than two months. A third man who drove the teenager here is in custody in Kansas, authorities said.
"I feel so bad that I didn't see her, that I couldn't say, 'Hey. Your little girl is here,'" Boone previously told WCPO. "I can't imagine what her mother is going through."
If convicted of conspiracy to sex traffic children, the men could face up to life in prison. Conspiracy to produce child pornography has a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison, up to 30 years.