Lehigh Valley

Police: Man offered girl money, drugs, rides for sex

Authorities received a tip about prostitution

HELLERTOWN, Pa. - Authorities allege an Allentown man offered a juvenile drugs, cash and rides in exchange for sex.

Hellertown police charged Francisco Arias, of Troxell Street, with felony counts of unlawful contact with a minor prostitution and criminal use of a communication device. He also faces misdemeanor charges of corruption of minors, patronizing prostitutes, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

District Judge Anthony Rapp arraigned the 43-year-old Wednesday afternoon, setting bail at $5,000 with a 10 percent cash option. Arias was released following his arraignment after posting $500 cash.

Police allege Arias solicited the girl on several occasions between September 2016 and Jan. 12, according to court records.

Hellertown police said the department received an anonymous report on Jan. 6 that a juvenile was engaged in prostitution from a Second Avenue home. On Jan. 12, police stopped Arias on Second Avenue, where he said he was picking the girl known to authorities, according to records.

During the traffic stop, Arias reportedly agreed to allow the officer to review numerous text conversations on his phone. In several text messages between Arias and the girl and another female, Arias allegedly agreed to exchange sex for drugs, according to police. A subsequent search of his car turned up a suspected baggie of cocaine, according to records.

During an interview at police headquarters, investigators said they found several text messages between Arias and the girl in which he offered her money and transportation in exchange for sex.

Arias allegedly admitted soliciting the girl, but noted in a written statement that “he was only joking,” according to records.

Phone records revealed that Arias had allegedly been texting the girl from Sept. 10, 2016, until he was stopped in January. Police said the messages showed he negotiated money, pot and rides in exchange for sex.

Arias’ next court date is a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 6.

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