Three arrested, more arrests expected in human trafficking case

Nov 22, 2023, 11:13 AM

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FILE: Two people are in the hospital after being burned near a campfire in West Point on Monday night. (KSL TV)


SALT LAKE CITY — Three men have been arrested in connection with a human trafficking case at a West Bountiful-based landscaping and snow removal company.

According to a release from the Utah Attorney General’s Office, more arrests are expected.

Three company executives were arrested identified as Clayton Phillips, Tyler Brinkman, and Adam Perea. Each has been charged with seven counts of aggravated labor trafficking.

The West Bountiful company is registered with the State as Rubicon Contractors LLC.

Additional Rubicon employees are expected to be charged in this case as well.

The release explains that investigators from the Utah Attorney General’s Secure Strikeforce found about 150 people from Mexico were recruited to work at Rubicon, using H2B Visas. Once they arrived in Utah, workers endured “extremely poor working and living conditions, and unreasonable charges for housing and equipment.”

The workers were not paid sufficiently, forcing them to rely on food banks and charity to survive.

“The treatment of these workers is appalling. I know our AG Victim Advocates have been on the scene supporting them,” Attorney General Sean D. Reyes said. “We intend to prove the victims are innocent people who came to America using a legal immigration process to work hard, earn a living and contribute to society. But, instead, we believe they were exploited in subhuman living and working conditions as indentured servants in a labor trafficking scheme.”

Workers told investigators that they were required to be on the job even if they were sick and were threatened with deportation. Workers also reported that they were not allowed to use restrooms during long shifts and forced to pay for tools, repairs, and damage to Rubicon equipment.

“This is another example of how broadly this type of crime plagues Utah and America and why I have made it a priority to combat human trafficking for the past 10 years,” Reyes said. “My office and I will continue to prioritize awareness and enforcement of these crimes and human rights abuses.”

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Three arrested, more arrests expected in human trafficking case