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Charges dropped after Alamance County man accused of ‘possible human trafficking’

ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- Aris Hines and his fiancée Brandi Thomason were arrested in May of 2016 and charged for obstruction of justice and obtaining property by false pretense.

On July 6, 2018, Hines got a text from his lawyer that the charges against he and Thomason were dropped. His attorney, Ralph Frasier Jr., with Frasier & Griffith, said that the case never even went to trial because there was insufficient evidence.

Hines maintained his innocence and said the student from Nigeria that he and Thomason cared for was simply as a host parent trying to help a disadvantaged teen with access to education.

“I never had three, four girls in my home, I never mistreated any kids, I never hid any kids from the public. All that stuff that people read about me and seen on news was all false,” Hines said.

In 2016 Hines and Thomason lived in Mebane along the Orange County line.

the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office accused the couple of trying to enroll three young girls into the Alamance-Burlington School System.

In a news conference announcing the charges, Sheriff Terry Johnson alleged the circumstances were a case of possible human trafficking; taking advantage of children and teens from African countries using them for their athletic ability.

Hines said the accusation of involvement with human trafficking led to two years of turmoil in his life. Hines said he and Thomason struggled to find employment and went through a period of homelessness in Greensboro before moving to his brother’s home in Texas.

“Just to give you an incident, I was out doing some yard work at my house and I had four guys pull up and they were like, ‘Hey pervert, you need to get out of our community,’ I got death threats, it just got bad,” Hines said.

District Attorney Pat Nadolski sent the following statement in reference to Hines case and dismissal:

“State unable to prove each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt based on following developments after charging: inconsistent statements by victim and significant problems obtaining pertinent and relevant evidence from federal authorities.”

Nadolski said the victim mentioned is referring to the former Eastern Alamance High School student, originally from Nigeria. Hines said he has proper documentation proving his temporary guardianship of the student.

Johnson declined to comment.

Hines said he plans to file a civil lawsuit and wants people in the Piedmont Triad to know of his struggle. Perhaps then will his name be cleared of the false allegations. ​