Today Bexar County D.A Susan Reed’s Human Trafficking Unit obtained four life sentences, one of which will be run consecutively with the others, against 41 year old Frank Lara for selling a 16 and 13 year old child for sex.
On June 19, 2014, a jury convicted Frank Lara of two counts of human trafficking and two counts of compelling prostitution of a child younger than 18 years of age. A joint local and federal investigation by the Crimes Against Children Task Force uncovered the trafficking operation in October 2012. The officers answered an internet ad offering the two children for sale for sex in a local hotel room. The defendant operated the business, placed the internet ads and took the money given to the children from his home while on parole and house arrest for his latest felony offense. The evidence at trial showed that the defendant, despite being confined to his mother’s home, was selling children to people willing to rape them for money, dealing drugs and engaging in the distribution of pornographic pictures of children and adults.
During the punishment hearing, Prosecutors from the Bexar County D.A.’s Office Human Trafficking Unit presented evidence that even after the two children were rescued and the case being developed, Frank Lara continued to prostitute other victims describing them as “hoes” and “fresh meat”. Prosecutors also presented evidence that Lara bookmarked websites devoted to the sexual abuse of children and teenagers and that he was a five time convicted felon, with offenses including Robbery, Burglary, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Possession of Controlled Substances. Prosecutors asked for life, urging the Court to send a strong community message that children in Bexar County are not for sale.
Human Trafficking of a Child and Compelling Prostitution of a Child are first degree felonies with a range of punishment from 5 years to life and up to a $10,000 fine. Lara’s prior convictions enhanced the punishment to a minimum of 25 years.
For more information, please contact District Attorney Susan Reed at 210-335-2342.