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Sean D. Reyes
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Third Set of Charges Filed Against Utah Man For THC Distribution

May 14, 2020

On Monday, the Utah Attorney General’s Office SECURE Strike Force filed charges against a man from Sandy, Utah for THC distribution. This is his third set of charges in less than a year for similar offenses.

21-year-old Anthony Studham has been charged in the Third District Court with Pattern of Unlawful Activity, a second-degree felony; two counts of Money Laundering, a second-degree felony; Distribution of a Controlled Substance, a second-degree felony; and Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Distribute, a second-degree felony.

Studham was first arrested in January 2019 when he was found in possession of marijuana and THC cartridges. In October 2019, he pled guilty to Drug Possession, a third-degree felony, and two Class B misdemeanors. Studham was sentenced to one year of probation.

In November 2019, Studham was again arrested for possessing marijuana and illegal THC cartridges with the intent to distribute. In February 2020, he was charged with Distribution of or Arranging to Distribute a Controlled Substance, a second-degree felony; Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute, a second-degree felony; and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class B misdemeanor.

In April 2020, agents with SECURE received reports from the West Jordan Police Department about the ongoing investigation into Studham for distributing large amounts of THC cartridges and marijuana throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Studham would often advertise drug sales through his social media accounts and made frequent trips to California to pick up marijuana. Police seized $37,270 from his residence and $16,365 from his car, all believed to be the proceeds of drug sales.

Believing Studham poses a flight risk, the Court issued a warrant for his arrest and requested he be held without bail.

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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SECURE Strike Force Files Sex Trafficking Charges Against Three Utahns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2020

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL’S SECURE STRIKE FORCE FILES SEX TRAFFICKING CHARGES AGAINST THREE UTAHNS
Two Child Victims Exploited for Commercial Sex


SALT LAKE CITY – Three Utah residents, Andre Gomez, David Mackey, and Chandra Jones have been arrested and charged by the Utah Attorney General’s SECURE (Statewide Enforcement of Crimes by Undocumented Residents) Strike Force for sex trafficking two 17-year-old girls in Ogden. All defendants face charges of Sex Trafficking of a Child and Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution Involving a Child, based on evidence that they recruited, solicited and profited from sexually exploiting the two child victims for commercial sex. Gomez and Mackey were also charged with multiple counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor for directing the children to take sexually explicit photos of themselves for use in commercial sex advertisements. Mackey also faces a charge of Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16 or 17-year-old, based on evidence that he had sexual intercourse with one of the child victims. 
 
Agents with the Attorney General’s SECURE Strike Force were contacted by Juvenile Justice Services in September 2019 in regards to a report that a 17-year-old female had disclosed she and another 17-year-old female (Child Victim 1, Child Victim 2) were the victims of human trafficking for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. Child Victim 1 disclosed that she met and began talking with a man by the name of Anthony (later identified as David Anthony Mackey). Mackey asked Child Victim 1 if she wanted to make some money and Mackey instructed Child Victim 1 to reach out to his friend “Andre” through Facebook. Mackey provided Child Victim 1 the Facebook account of “Andre” (later identified as Andre Gomez). Gomez instructed both child victims to take nude and partially nude photos of themselves and send them to Gomez for posting on adult websites as online ads for commercial sex. Both child victims took photos as instructed by Gomez. Mackey also took a topless photo of Child Victim 1 for use in online ads for commercial sex.
 
Both child victims traveled to a hotel in Ogden, Utah at the instruction of Mackey and Gomez. They were met by Mackey and his girlfriend Chandra Jones. Jones explained to both child victims what they were expected to do and how to act; including how to post ads, how to accept money from clients, how to talk to clients, and how to dispose of condoms. The child victims were provided alcohol by Mackey and Jones. Both child victims engaged in commercial sexual intercourse with multiple clients at the hotel in Ogden at the instruction of Mackey and Jones. Mackey kept the money received from commercial sex. Mackey and Jones took Child Victim 1 to Salt Lake City, Utah and rented another hotel for the purposes of engaging in commercial sex. They were unable to do so after Jones and Mackey got into a fight on the premises of that hotel. Mackey and Jones were both aware of the ages of the child victims. Both hotel stays were corroborated by receipts obtained pursuant to a subpoena.
 
Mackey and Gomez are both convicted felons who have spent time in prison for violent offenses. Gomez was previously convicted of murder.
 
Both child victims have been referred to the Refugee Immigrant Center-Asian Association of Utah, which provides comprehensive services to aid human trafficking victims. The Utah Attorney General’s Office’s own victim coordinator is also in regular contact with both victims to ensure their rights are represented as the case moves forward.

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Register for the 2020 Human Trafficking Symposium

January 15, 2020

The Utah Attorney General’s Utah Trafficking in Persons (UTIP) Task Force, along with the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Social Justice Student Initiative (SJSI), invite you to attend the annual Human Trafficking Symposium on January 24, 2020.

The Symposium will feature Julie Dahlstrom, JD, Director of Boston University Law’s Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program as a keynote speaker, a panel, and breakout sessions about human trafficking in Utah including perspectives from attorneys, case managers, law enforcement, and medical providers based around this year’s theme of a victim-centered approach.

The event is free or $12 for a lunch option. University students, faculty, and staff are free with proof of university ID.

Registration is required: http://bit.ly/SJQHTS2020

Click here to download the 2020 Human Trafficking Symposium Agenda

4.5 hours of Utah CLE (pending).

Paid parking is available at Rice-Eccles Stadium by purchasing a day pass. We encourage you to use public transportation to our events. Take TRAX University line to the Stadium stop and walk a half block north. For other public transit options use UTA’s Trip Planner. The law school is on the Red Route for the University’s free campus shuttles (College of Law stop).

For questions about the event contact Haylee (801) 587-7890.

Get Involved for Human Trafficking Prevention Month

January 11, 2020

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and today, January 11, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. As of this moment, there are dozens of people in Utah and thousands across the nation who are suffering the physical and mental anguish of being imprisoned in plain sight.

The human trafficking industry generates approximately $150 billion each year and has an estimated 40.3 million victims world-wide, even in the State of Utah.

Human trafficking is a pervasive and horrific violation of human rights that strips victims of innocence, hope, and dignity. Men, women, and children of any sexual orientation, race, gender, nationality, and from all backgrounds and communities – urban or rural – are trafficked each year.

Traffickers use a number of ways to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sex, including force, fraud, or coercion. They may use violence, manipulation, or false promises of a romantic relationship or a well-paying job. Traffickers use “invisible ropes” that involve complex manipulative tactics to control their victims, despite the popular portrayal in books and movies that traffickers use handcuffs, chains, cages, and locked rooms. A victim’s trauma may be so great that they may not identify as a victim and will not ask for help. Language barriers, fear of traffickers, and fear of law enforcement may prevent a victim from speaking out.

Human trafficking is a fast-growing, transnational epidemic. The Utah Attorney General’s Office through its Utah Trafficking in Persons (UTIP) Task Force and SECURE Strike Force, along with many partner agencies, aggressively fight against trafficking in all its forms. In 2018, the Utah Attorney General’s Office conducted 49 human trafficking investigations, prosecuted 8 cases, and served 44 victims. Utah has made great strides to combat trafficking and was recently ranked among the top in the nation for its dedication to the fight against minor sex trafficking. Despite this, there is still much work to be done.

The AG’s Office invites Utahns this January to get involved. Learn the signs of human trafficking and how to report it here. Register for the free Annual UTIP Human Trafficking Symposium by the AG’s Office at the University of Utah on January 24, to learn about human trafficking from the perspective of attorneys, case managers, law enforcement, and medical providers. Utahns can also report tips regarding human trafficking to the Utah Attorney General’s Office:

  • Utah Human Trafficking Tipline: 801-200-3443
  • Internet Crimes Against Children Tipline: 801-281-1211

The AG’s Office would like to thank our partners in the fight against human trafficking:

  • Adult Probation and Parole/Department of Corrections
  • Backyard Broadcast
  • Bountiful Police Department
  • Children’s Justice Center
  • Davis County Sheriff’s Office
  • Division of Child and Family Services
  • The Department of Justice
  • Department of Public Safety/Utah Statewide Information and Analysis Center
  • doTerra
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations-Salt Lake City
  • Fight the New Drug
  • Homeland Security Investigations- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Juvenile Justice Services
  • Malouf Foundation
  • Ogden Police Department
  • Operation Underground Railroad
  • Orem Police Department
  • Park City Police Department
  • Refugee & Immigrant Center – Asian Association of Utah
  • Restoring Ancestral Winds
  • Safe Harbor
  • Salt Lake City Police Department
  • SHEROES United
  • South Valley Services
  • The Road Home
  • Unified Police Department
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service
  • Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic
  • Utah Domestic Violence Coalition
  • Utah Legal Services
  • Utah Office for Victims of Crime
  • Various professionals from the medical community
  • West Jordan Police Department
  • West Valley Police Department
  • West Wendover Police Department
  • YCC Family Crisis Center
  • 3 Strands Global Foundation
  • 4th Street Clinic

Utah Gets an ‘A’ for Fighting Child Sex Trafficking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2019
 

UTAH GETS AN ‘A’ FOR FIGHTING CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING
Shared Hope International Scores Enforcement Standards of Protection for Minors
 

SALT LAKE CITY – The State of Utah is now ranked among the top in the nation for its dedication to the fight against minor sex trafficking, according to Shared Hope International. See Utah’s report card here.  

In its yearly rankings, Utah received an ‘A’ for its dedication and strength of the state’s laws related to the commercial sexual exploitation of children. In 2011, Utah received an ‘F’. The amount of progress is due to many factors and dedicated partners, including the tireless efforts of Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, the Attorney General SECURE Strike Force, the ICAC Task Force, the UTIP Task Force, legislation passed by the Utah Legislature and the dedication and commitment of the Governor’s office.

“Combatting human trafficking is an absolute priority for our office,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “There are incredible, dedicated people who work hard every day as part of this effort, and that work is far from over. We will continue to do everything we can to fight this heinous activity.” 

Every year, Shared Hope International, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating minor sex trafficking, releases report cards for each state in the nation with a grade based on the strength of their laws related to the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Grades are based on an annual review of state laws as analyzed under the Protected Innocence Challenge Legislative Framework.

States are graded on the analysis and review of six areas:

  • Criminalization of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking 
  • Criminal Provisions for Demand (those who buy)
  • Criminal Provisions for Traffickers (those who sell)
  • Criminal Provisions for Facilitators (those who help)
  • Protective Provisions for Child Victims 
  • Criminal Justice Tools for Investigation & Prosecution

Shared Hope International is a non-profit organization that works to prevent sex trafficking and to bring justice to women and children who have been victimized through sex trafficking. 
 

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Utah AG’s Office Obtains Convictions Against Human Trafficker

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 30, 2019
 

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE OBTAINS CONVICTIONS AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKER JAMES SAVAGE BROWN
Women shared stories of assault, abuse, and forced sexual exploitation


SALT LAKE CITY – On Thursday, August 29, 2019 a Third District Court Jury convicted James Savage Brown on multiple felony charges-including aggravated human trafficking-against two women. The Utah Attorney General’s office SECURE Section investigated and prosecuted the case and worked for more than a year to obtain the conviction. 

Brown was convicted of the following charges:

  • Aggravated Human Trafficking for Forced Sexual Exploitation
  • Aggravated Kidnapping
  • Rape
  • Forcible Sodomy
  • Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution
  • Tampering with a Witness

A pre-sentence report has been requested and sentencing has been scheduled for October 21st at 1:30 pm. AG Special Agents learned of Brown’s activity last year from one of the victims. S.S., after she was released from the Salt Lake County Detention Center. While there, S.S. encountered another woman, J.M., who had suffered similarly at the hands of Brown. Investigators later learned that J.S. had previously reported her encounter with Brown to the Salt Lake City Police Department. Both women told stories of manipulation and coercion, including exploiting drug dependency, threatened or actual physical abuse, fear for their lives, and repeated attempts and/or success in forced prostitution by Brown.

Collaboration between the Attorney General’s Office and the Salt Lake City Police Department was instrumental in identifying the victims and corroboration the victims’ reports. Once identified, the two victims received counseling and other services through a partner agency of the Attorney General’s Utah Trafficking in Person’s Task Force, The Refugee and Immigrant Center—Asian Association of Utah.

“I am very proud of my team of investigators, prosecutors and victim advocates including Russell Smith, Tye Christensen, Michelle Rasmussen, and Ruthie Pedregon for their hard work and professionalism in obtaining justice for the women are survivors of James Savage Brown’s crimes,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “We are also relieved that the victims are safe and receiving the best resources we have at our disposal. Human trafficking is a despicable crime that we in the Utah AGO are deeply committed to combat with aggressive investigations and prosecutions.”

The Attorney General’s SECURE Strike force executed the investigation and arrest. SECURE is tasked by the Utah Legislature with investigating and prosecuting large-scale criminal operations, including human trafficking.

Human trafficking tips should be reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.


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 NOTES:

  1. You can find a copy of the charging documents and probable cause statement here:  https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/James-Brown-Savage.pdf.
  2. Read more about the AG’s SECURE Strike Force here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/secure-task-force/.
  3. You can find more information on the Utah Trafficking in Persons (UTIP) Task Force here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/initiatives/human-trafficking/.

Human Trafficking in Utah

July 3, 2019

Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry, and it’s happening right here in Utah. In 2018, the Utah Attorney General’s Office conducted 49 human trafficking investigations, prosecuted 8 cases, and served 44 victims.

Rather than using ropes and chains to confine and control their victims, traffickers use “invisible ropes” involving complex manipulative tactics to control their victims, which can make it difficult to recognize human trafficking.

For information on how you can recognize and report human trafficking visit: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/human-trafficking-awareness-day-2019/

To report tips regarding human trafficking, please contact the Utah Attorney General’s Office:

  • Utah Human Trafficking Tipline: 801-200-3443
  • Internet Crimes Against Children Tipline: 801-281-1211

AG’s SECURE Strike Force busts Salt Lake drug ring

Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Front are a little safer thanks to the efforts of the Utah Attorney General’s SECURE Strike Force.

Last Friday, the SECURE Strike Force busted and charged three men for distributing drugs throughout the Valley. At the time of the arrest, the Strike Force found heroin, cocaine, and over $7,500 in cash.

For the full story, check out Pat Reavy’s article on KSL.com: 3 charged in Salt Lake drug distribution ring.

Melvin Arrazola-Raudales, Rene Leonardo Trejo-Raudales, and Richer Brayan Valle-Raudales were each charged with two counts of drug distribution (second-degree felony) and possession of a weapon (third-degree felony).

The Utah Attorney General’s Office administers and coordinates the SECURE Strike Force partnership with the Utah Department of Public Safety and county, federal and city law enforcement agencies to combat violent and other major felony crimes associated with illegal immigration and human trafficking.

In the News: Sex Trafficking Victim Speaks Out

March 18, 2019

Last Wednesday, Joseph Moore was sentenced to two terms of five years up to life in prison for sex trafficking a 16-year-old child and exploiting his own adult daughter for prostitution. You can read the full press release here: Man Sentenced to Consecutive Terms of Life in Prison for Sex Trafficking a Child.

Assistant Attorney General Dan Strong had the opportunity to visit with Brittany Johnson of ABC 4 News Friday to discuss sex trafficking and the responsibility adults have to protect and help children.

“Adults throughout society, we have a responsibility to children. If we find a child in a desperate situation that’s having a hard time, it’s our responsibility to help that child. The worst thing you can do is see a child in that position and think, “here’s a way I can make a buck.” And that’s what the defendant did in this case,” said Strong.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sex trafficking, report it to Utah law enforcement at 801-200-3443 or to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.

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