ST. GEORGE – Two people accused of human trafficking, exploitation of a prostitute and sundry drug charges pleaded not guilty in Fifth District Court Wednesday morning.
The charges against Leroy Haley, 30, and Francis Uhrhan, 20, stem from an Aug. 23 vice sting operation conducted between St. George Police, Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations.
According to arresting documents, police set up a sting after becoming aware of an online ad in which two women were “advertising suspected sexual acts for money.” The police answered the ad and a meeting between the women and an undercover officer was arranged at a local motel. The police made the sting soon after the two women arrived and entered the motel room.
The women were identified as Uhrhan and a 17-year-old minor. Uhrhan was arrested and the 17-year-old was determined to be a victim in the case, according to a statement from St. George Police. The police reported she had been transported into Utah from out of state; and that through intimidation and/or fear, the girl was compelled and persuaded by Haley and Uhrhan to perform acts of prostitution.
Homeland Security Investigation was involved in the sting due to the cross-state nature of the case.
Uhrhan’s arrest soon led to Haley’s arrest. Evidence from the scene suggested the group had recently traveled throughout Utah engaging in similar activities, St. George Police said.
Haley was taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center after complaining about a medical condition. While at the hospital, he became disorderly and kicked medical staff and an officer, leading to charges of assault by a prisoner and disorderly conduct.
Charges of drug possession, with intent to distribute, stemmed from multiple items and substances believed to be marijuana, hydrocodone pills, suspected ecstasy pills, and other drug paraphernalia. The pills were of a large enough quantity to suggest possible drug distribution activities. The police statement said that other evidence indicated the suspects were dealing drugs.
Haley faces felony counts of first-degree aggravated human trafficking, first-degree aggravated exploitation of a prostitute, second-degree exploitation of a prostitute, two counts of third-degree assault by a prisoner, three counts of first-degree possession of a controlled substance with an intent to distribute, third-degree endangerment of a child or elderly person, and three misdemeanor offenses stemming from interference with an arresting officer, disorderly conduct, and drug paraphernalia.
Uhrhan faces felony counts of first-degree aggravated human trafficking, first-degree aggravated exploitation of a prostitute, second-degree exploitation of a prostitute, two counts of first-degree possession of a controlled substance with an intent to distribute, second-degree possession of a controlled substance with an intent to distribute, third-degree endangerment of a child or elderly person, and misdemeanors for unlawful conduct/massage practice, prostitution, and drug paraphernalia.
Uhrhan and Haley pleaded not guilty to the charges and a four-day jury trial has been set for Jan. 27, 2014.
New from STGnews.com
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.