UTAH – A federal grand jury in Utah has indicted eight people for alleged sex trafficking of children. If convicted, each defendant faces a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, with the potential to receive up to life in federal prison.
A federal grand jury returned four indictments on July 21. Arrest warrants were executed Tuesday as a part of an investigation by the FBI and the Salt Lake City Police Department. The indictments were unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.
“Sex trafficking of children is a crime we take very seriously,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said in a press statement released Friday. “We appreciate the commitment and coordinated efforts of the FBI and the Salt Lake City Police Department in investigating these four cases. With the arrests made and the indictments unsealed, the criminal court process will now begin.”
Abiodu Damiloca Salankole – also known as “Case” – 20, of West Jordan, is charged with two counts of sex trafficking of children in one indictment. His alleged victims are two minors, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Gloire Seba, 21, of Sandy, and Kyle Jason Hale, 21, of Riverton, are charged in a nine-count indictment for sex trafficking of children, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and transporting a minor for prostitution. The alleged victims in this indictment are four minors.
Saquan Marcell Smith, 23, and Raquel Consuela Knell, 21, both of Salt Lake City, are named in a third indictment and are charged with four counts of sex trafficking of children and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking involving two minors.
Ashley Nicole Poike, 23, of Sandy, Hector Yordano Irizarry Castro, 24, of Salt Lake City, and Thomas Marte-Pena, 27, of Salt Lake City, are named in a nine-count indictment alleging sex trafficking of children, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, transportation with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. This indictment involves one adult victim and two minor victims.
Some victims of the alleged crimes are included in more than one indictment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. As this report is published, information about the alleged victims has not been released.
Salt Lake City Interim Police Chief Mike Brown said these cases represent an important opportunity for state and federal law enforcement agencies to coordinate on investigating a serious crime.
“Very few crimes are as serious as crimes against children,” Brown said. “Anytime we can disrupt that cycle of violence, it’s a huge step in the right direction. I applaud our partnerships and the concerted effort made by everyone to get these alleged criminals off the street and away from future victims.”
All of the defendants charged in the indictments had initial appearances in federal court Wednesday afternoon and entered pleas of not guilty to the charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Knell and Kyle were released subject to supervision by the U.S. Probation Office. The other six defendants are in custody, with several detention hearings set for Monday.
If convicted, each defendant charged with child sex trafficking faces a mandatory 10-year minimum sentence with the potential to receive up to life in federal prison. Transporting a minor for prostitution carries the same potential sentence.
Those charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking could also be sentenced up to life in federal prison. Transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity has a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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