A man accused of molesting teenage immigrant boys and forcing them into the drug trade is facing new charges after investigators found even more child victims.
Victor Manuel Rax, 42, now faces a total of 63 felonies for crimes ranging from sodomy on a child to human trafficking to drugs. Investigators believe Rax raped undocumented immigrant children as young as nine, then threatened their families in order to force them to sell drugs and submit to abuse.
Police from multiple agencies arrested Rax in February and prosecutors later charged him with 34 felonies. The number of charges nearly doubled because police have identified 16 victims, according to the Utah Attorney General’s office. All but one of those victims were children when Rax allegedly abused them, the AG’s office added Thursday.
Rax’s case reads like a horror story. Among other things, one witness told police Rax had “black magic” and “spoke in dialect to his god Santa Muerte.” He also allegedly drugged some boys to unconsciousness as he abused them.
Rax also used the boys as drug dealers in Utah high schools, police say.
Rax was long a target of police investigations, but prosecutors struggled to mount a case against him because victims were too afraid to testify. In one instance, prosecutors even threatened to deport the victim if he wouldn’t take the stand against Rax. The victim, however, wouldn’t budge, instead challenging authorities to “deport me to hell.”
The current case against Rax began when three victims finally came forward: a 15-year-old who was 14 when the abuse began, an 18-year-old who was 16 when the abuse started, and a 17-year-old, according to jail documents.
Rax’s bail has been denied. His younger brother also faces two felonies for threatening witnesses.
Rax’s next court date is scheduled for April 18.