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Man charged with threatening witness to protect brother accused of abusing kids
First Published Mar 11 2014 10:50 pm • Last Updated Mar 11 2014 10:50 pm

A witness in the human trafficking case against Victor Manuel Rax was threatened by Rax’s younger brother, police say.

After 42-year-old Rax was arrested on suspicion of raping boys and forcing them to sell drugs for him, his brother, Victor Alfredo Rax, approached a witness in the case, police wrote in charges filed Tuesday. The younger Rax promised the witness "would be taken care of financially" if he did not testify, but "would regret it" if he were to testify.

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Victor Alfredo Rax, 35, was charged with tampering with a witness and retaliation against a witness, both third-degree felonies.

When the elder Rax was booked into jail in February, investigators said they had developed protections so that witnesses in the case would not be threatened with deportation, criminal charges or retaliation. Rax is accused of targeting undocumented immigrant children as young as 9 and threatening harm to their families to force the boys to deliver drugs and submit to sexual abuse. Police say some of the victims were drugged to unconsciousness when they were abused. One boy said Rax had "black magic" and "spoke in dialect to his god Santa Muerte," police wrote. Rax faces 34 felony counts ranging from drug charges to human trafficking and forcible sodomy.

In charges, investigators identified seven children Rax allegedly victimized and one other witness; that witness was the one approached by Rax’s younger brother, investigators wrote.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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