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Drug and Prostitution Ring Busted by Utah Attorney General’s SECURE Strike Force and SLC Police

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2020

DRUG AND PROSTITUTION RING BUSTED BY UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL’S SECURE STRIKE FORCE AND SLC POLICE
Salt Lake City Motel Was Known for Illegal Activity

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Attorney General’s Office, working jointly with the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Narcotics and Organized Crime Units, has charged the owner and manager of the City Inn Motel (935 North 1000 West in Salt Lake City) with multiple felonies in a case involving drug activity, money laundering and prostitution.   
 
Motel owner Rezvan Saisani has been charged with Money Laundering, Exploiting Prostitution, and Pattern of Unlawful Activity. Sameer Syed, who helped manage the City Inn Motel, was also charged in the same case. Charges were filed Tuesday afternoon following an extensive investigation that took place after receiving complaints from neighbors in the area. View the charging documents here
 
Investigators organized various surveillance and undercover operations at the motel over the past month. Investigators found evidence that Saisani and Syed were not only aware of the prostitution and drug trafficking at their business but actively encouraged such activity in order to benefit financially.
 
Investigators learned Saisani and Syed would collect “visitor fees” from those who visited the motel, including for commercial sex or drug purchases. Undercover agents posed as commercial sex purchasers to see how Saisani and Syed would respond. Each time, Saisani and Syed collected visitor fees from the undercover agents, even when agents made it very obvious that they were only visiting the motel for illegal purposes. During one exchange, Saisani directed an undercover agent to the north side of the motel because the “better girls” were located there.
 
“The owners and operators of illicit ‘no-tell motels’ enable crimes like human trafficking and fuel the market for commercial sex,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “These businesses are tough to investigate and prosecute because it takes an enormous effort to link the criminal activity on the ground to the person at the top collecting money. We know there are a lot of these businesses out there and hope this case will serve as a model for law enforcement agencies to stop similar operations throughout the state.”
 
Reports of human trafficking and related crimes can be made to the Utah Trafficking in Persons Tip Line at 801-200-3443.  

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Man convicted using brother’s name

The Utah Attorney General’s Office recently found itself on the winning side of a strange and extraordinary appeal case before the Utah Supreme Court.

Here are the cliff notes:

  • Salt Lake PD stop a car with a revoked registration and find heroin and a .44 revolver in the car and arrest the driver. Defendant gives the name Bela Fritz.
  • During the trial process, Fritz takes a plea deal and is sent to prison. 
  • Fritz arrives at the prison and the Corrections officer checking him in discovers the photo associated with Bela Fritz does not match the man standing in front of him.
  • Upon questioning the defendant, the officer discovers that the defendant gave his brother’s name.

This was a first for Utah.

From there, the case went back to the prosecutors who then had to figure out what to do with a conviction of a man using a wrong name. The prosecutors went to the Third District Court seeking to undo a criminal conviction. The judge would not grant their request.

Enter the Utah Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals division who then took the case to the Utah Supreme Court. The Utah Supreme Court, in turn, told the Third District Court to revisit their decision stating, “A defendant’s misrepresentation of his or her identity is an illicit attempt to game the criminal justice system. It carries with it troubling consequences.”

Deseret News and ABC4 did a great job covering the story.
Click below for more.

Deseret News: Oh, brother: Offender posing as sibling fools Utah justice system, court says

ABC4: Appeal Case a First in Utah

Utah Attorney General’s Office Joins Law Enforcement for Missing in Utah Event

March 13, 2019

On Saturday, investigators from the Utah Attorney General’s Office joined detectives from several law enforcement agencies and personnel from the Utah Medical Examiner’s Office to discuss missing person investigations in Utah and assist in collecting information as part of the ‘Missing in Utah’ event hosted by the Salt Lake City Police Department.

The event was a first of its kind for Utah and was based on similar events in Michigan and Arizona. Missing in Utah extended an open invitation to the public to attend as an opportunity to open a new missing person case or add to an existing one.

Utah AG investigators were available to talk to people about their new or existing case, help search databases, and collect information that could assist people in finding their missing loved ones. In addition, the investigators directed people to NamUs, a national organization that helps resolve missing, unidentified, and unclaimed person cases throughout the United States. NamUs was able to collect DNA samples, dental, and/or medical records from family members which were entered into their nationwide database.

A Detective Sergeant from the South Jordan Police Department attended the event looking for his missing uncle. Due to his employment, he was unable to search the missing persons databases himself. Missing in Utah allowed the Detective Sergeant to enter his uncle’s information into the database and he was ultimately found alive in Arizona. Personnel were then able to reach out to the uncle and notify him that his family had been searching for him.

The Salt Lake City Police Department was joined by law enforcement from the West Valley City Police Department, West Jordan Police Department, and the Sandy City Police Department. Officers were available to take reports, gather information, and take identifiers from families of missing persons.

Missing in Utah will be held annually. We hope new information can help us locate loved ones we’ve lost.

Utahns who were unable to attend the event can call the Salt Lake City Police Department at 801-799-3000, or visit the NamUs website, at NamUs.gov.


Media coverage:

ABC 4: The Salt Lake Police Department hosted ‘Missing in Utah’ event

Fox 13: Six days after husband’s disappearance, Utah woman hopes to find answers at ‘Missing in Utah’ event

KSL: Utah police gather information from the public to help solve missing persons cases

Salt Lake Tribune: Event offers families of missing Utahns another chance at hope, discovery

Deseret News: Utah police gather information form the public to help solve missing persons cases

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