A judge has ordered a Salt Lake massage parlor owner to stand trial on charges involving aggravated human trafficking, prostitution and identity theft. Third District Judge Katherine Bernards-Goodman bound over 29-year old Luis Daniel Arano-Hernandez on all 13 felony counts after a preliminary hearing that ended April 3.
During the hearing, Assistant Attorneys General Gregory Ferbrache and Craig Barlow presented evidence that Arano-Hernandeze coerced a 17-year-old girl and her mother to be prostituted at two Reiki massage parlors.
Agents for the Attorney General’s Office SECURE Strike Force arrested Arano-Hernandez and four other suspects last November after an eight month investigation into sex trafficking at the massage parlors.
At the hearing, evidence was admitted that a 17-year-old female was threatened with physical harm and deportation unless she prostituted herself. She testified that Arano-Hernandez arranged for and required her to obtain false ID cards to show she was 18. She also testified that Arano-Hernandez told her to not contact the police after she was raped by a customer at his business.
Arano-Hernandez is charged with five first-degree felony counts of aggravated human trafficking, pattern of unlawful activity and aggravated exploitation of prostitution; two second-degree felony counts of aggravated exploitation of prostitution; two second-degree felony counts of exploitation of prostitution; two second-degree felony counts of identity fraud; and one third-degree felony count of identity fraud.
Four co-defendants have entered into cooperation agreements against the defendant and have been sentenced according to those agreements.
All defendants are to be considered innocent unless convicted in a court of law. The SECURE Strike Force began in June 2009 to target major crimes committed by undocumented residents. Video of the arrests at the massage parlors can be found at http://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/SECUREreiki.html.