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New Hampshire man convicted of human trafficking, drug distribution

A New Hampshire man was found guilty in Middlesex Superior Court of human trafficking and drug charges related to his arrest nearly two years ago at a Woburn hotel, according to the office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.

Darren Hughes, 30 of Laconia was convicted Monday on charges of trafficking a person of sexual servitude, possession with intent to distribute a Class D substance and distribution of a Class D substance, second offense, Ryan said in a statement.

“This case highlights abuse that often occurs in plain sight,” Ryan said, adding that the state’s five-year old anti-human trafficking law “effective tools to target prostitution and forced labor.”

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“Human trafficking is often thought of as a crime that occurs far away,” said Woburn Police Chief Robert Ferullo in the statement. “However, Woburn Police officers uncovered that this crime was taking place within our own community.”

Hughes was arrested on Feb. 18, 2015 by Woburn police during an undercover drug investigation that also led to the human trafficking charge, the statement said.

Police arranged to meet Hughes to purchase two grams of Butane Honey Oil laced with THC, the chemical that creates the psychological effects of marijuana.

During the meeting, Hughes told an undercover officer that he had “more drugs and girls in his hotel room,” the statement said.

Hughes was arrested for distribution of a Class D substance. Police found a hotel key on his person, prosecutors said.

At the hotel, a 20-year-old female told police that she had responded to an online advertisement that Hughes posted looking for a woman to work for him, prosecutors said.

He bought her a train ticket to meet him at the hotel in Woburn. Hughes photographed the woman in sexually suggestive poses, and posted the photos in an online advertisement for sexual services. Hughes kept all of the money customers paid for sexual activity, prosecutors said.

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He is due back in court on Feb. 21 for a trial on the charge of subsequent offense of a Class D substance, the statement said.


Jacob Geanous can be reached at jacobgeanous@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jacob_geanous.