SALT LAKE CITY — Bail has been denied and new charges filed against a man accused of dealing drugs and trafficking teenage boys in Utah.
Felony charges against Victor Manuel Rax, 42, jumped to 63 on Thursday, including new charges of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, aggravated human trafficking for forced labor involving a child, forcible sodomy, child endangerment, witness tampering and drug possession with intent to distribute.
Rax, of Guatemala, is accused of trafficking teen boys, mainly undocumented Latinos, for sexual purposes and then using fear to force them into sex and drug trafficking.
Sixteen victims have been identified, 15 of whom were children at the time. One victim was 7 years old when he first met Rax, and another as young as 9 when he was allegedly first abused by him. Some of the alleged abuse dated back to 2006, and some victims said they had been abused by Rax for years, according to court records.
Rax's influence over the boys usually began by providing them with drugs and alcohol at a young age, according to the charges. When they woke up, the boys would find Rax sexually abusing them, or they would remember the assault later, charges state.
Rax met the boys through family members, other teens already associating him, or in at least four instances, by approaching them at a park.
A man who told investigators he was forced to work for Rax under threats against his family reported he knew Rax for more than 10 years, according to the charges.
The man said Rax recruited and taught Latino boys between the ages of 12 and 15 to sell drugs for him, and that he was assigned to shadow the boys to make sure they were selling the drugs as directed. He described sexual abuse he witnessed against one 16 year old boy and told investigators he saw up to 25 pounds of cocaine in Rax's possession, according to the charges.
Rax's brother, Victor A. Rax Chun, 35, was arrested and charged March 11 with witness tampering after Rax allegedly called him from jail and instructed him to warn the man against testifying in court.
Another brother, Marcos Tot-Chun, 31, was charged March 11 with two counts of forgery.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: McKenzieRomero