Human trafficking bust leads to courtroom outburst

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — A human trafficking bust involving the exploitation of three teen girls lead to a dramatic outburst in a Fall River courtroom Thursday.

Olivia Lara, 38, of Fall River was taken into custody by Massachusetts State Police late Wednesday night and arraigned in connection with trafficking minors for sex.

Lara was arraigned on charges of sex trafficking for sexual servitude and deriving support from a prostitute. Lara pleaded not guilty at the arraignment and was held on $100,000 cash bail. As she was exiting the courtroom on Thursday morning, she began screaming and thrashing her head until she was restrained by courtroom officials.

According to a police report, the alleged victims told police that Lara, who also went by “Missy” would meet with Hispanic male bar patrons and arrange from them to have sexual intercourse for cash.

All three victims, two 15-year-old girls and a 17-year-old girl, stated that Lara would transport them from the bar to the customer’s apartments and other locations to engage in sex acts.

The bar that was described by the girls was identified as Fernando’s Place in Fall River.

The owner of the bar, Fernando Oliviera, told Eyewitness that he’s surprised by the allegations and doesn’t condone any illegal activity in his bar.

“That woman that does that, does she come here for a drink? Probably she does…. but what she does for a living, I don’t know,” said Oliviera.

One of Lara’s alleged customers was also arraigned on Thursday morning and held on $25,000 cash bail.

Both Lara and her customer are due back in court on February 12 for a probable cause hearing.

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