Eastern Alamance student's case linked to wider human trafficking ring
Posted May 17
Updated May 23
Burlington, N.C. — When the Alamance County Sheriff's Office dug into the case of a student enrolled at Eastern Alamance High School, they found links to an apparent human trafficking scheme, Sheriff Terry Johnson said Tuesday.
Deputies charged Aris Lamont Hines, 37, and his fiancee, Brandi K. Thomason, 35, both of 718 Blue Lake Drive in Mebane, with obstruction of justice and obtaining property by false pretense, claiming the couple used false documents to enroll the student.
Johnson said his investigators tied the couple to a male student from Nigeria. They first tried to enroll the boy in school in Charlotte, but administrators found problems with his visa, the sheriff said.
The couple was successful in getting the student enrolled at Eastern Alamance High, and he played on both the basketball and football teams.
A separate investigation by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association resulted in both teams forfeiting wins and profits from games in which he played.
Johnson said Hines also tried to enroll three girls into the Alamance-Burlington School System. All three are foreign nationals, and authorities said one is now in the Dominican Republic, another is in Texas and the third is in New York. All three are safe, authorities said.
Hines is also accused of housing 18 other children in Robeson County, nit authorities have been able to find only a few of those potential victims.
There is also evidence that Hines and Thomason may have committed similar crimes in Oklahoma and West Virginia, Johnson said.
More charges are expected against the couple.
"These arrests may be the tip of an iceberg that we intend to break,” Johnson said.
Hines and Thomason were being held in the Alamance County Detention Center under bond of $3 million apiece.