Searcy businessman accused of trafficking a minor

Local News

JUDSONIA, Ark. — A man has been charged with Trafficking of Persons after a minor came forward with information about sexual misconduct.

The Judsonia Police Department received information on August 9, 2019 about alleged inappropriate sexual misconduct involving a 15-year-old girl. This information came from Detective Mary Rudesill of the Judsonia Police Department.

Detective Rudesill said that a minor came forward to police and was taken to the White County Child Safety Center for a forensic interview.

During the interview the girl said that during the end of May of 2019 she was with a man, and his boss, known to her as 52-year-old Mohammad Arif. They were at Arif’s business in Searcy. According to Detective Rudesill the girl said that while she was there Arif told one of his employees to drive the man she was originally with to a different job site in Bradford.

The girl who was with the other guy said that because he is leaving without her, she would need a ride home.

According to Detective Rudesill the girl said that Arif volunteered to drive her from Searcy to Judsonia in his personal car. She then described the car to police.

According to the girl, once she was in the car, alone with Arif, he told her that he would give her money in exchange for a sexual act.

The girl was then concerned with what might happen next and wasn’t sure if anyone would believe her, she started recording their conversation on her phone.

Those recordings were given to police for evidence.

On August, 14, 2019, the man that the girl was previously with before meeting Arif, went to police to help with the investigation. He stated in Detective Rudesill’s affidavit that he remembered that day in May and confirmed that they met with his previous boss in Searcy. He also confirmed that he left the business with a different employee and that the girl was taken home by Arif.

According to the affidavit police showed the man a photo of Arif and he confirmed that that was who took the girl home. Due to the information provided by the man and the during their interviews police were able to point Arif as a potential suspect.

Arif was interviewed on September 21, at the Judsonia Police Department after he agreed to meet with Detective Mary Rudesill and answer questions.

Arif told Detective Rudesill that they were alone in his Nissan Murano and that he gave her a ride to Judsonia. He also stated that it was his first time meeting her and he knew she was a minor.

Detective Rudesill then told Arif that she wanted him to listen to two recordings and he agreed. After Detective Rudesill played those recordings that were taken from the girls cell phone, she asked if the recordings were him.

According to the affidavit he said that only one of those conversations had happened while they were in his car. He stated that he was “embarrassed” after hearing his voice on the recording.

Arif then said that he didn’t want to talk anymore and asked for a lawyer.

Detective Rudesill requested a warrant be issued for Mohammad Arif for the charge of Trafficking of Persons in violation of A.C.A. 5-18-103, a Class Y Felony.

He is currently being held at the White County jail and His bond is set at $15,000.

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