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Police: Waldorf man charged with human trafficking in Howard County

Police: Waldorf man charged with human trafficking in Howard County
Howard County police have charged Ronald Willis Cheeks, 49, of Waldorf, with trafficking four women at an Elkridge hotel, as well as drug distribution charges. (HANDOUT)

Howard County police have charged a Waldorf man with human trafficking of four women at an Elkridge motel. He also faces drug charges, according to police.

Ronald Willis Cheek, 49, of Albacore Court, was charged Thursday with nine counts of human trafficking, five counts of prostitution and three counts of drug charges, including possession with intent to distribute, police said Friday in news release.

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After a bail reviewing hearing on Friday, Cheeks continues to be held without bond at the Howard County Detention Center, according to online court records. He does not have an attorney listed in the records.

Police received a tip about suspicious activity at the Terrace Motel in the 6200 block of Washington Blvd., and went there late Wednesday, according to the release. Officers found four women from Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, ages 20 to 28, and Cheek at the motel.

Cheek was taken into custody on an open Virginia arrest warrant for fraud, police say. Recognizing possible human trafficking, detectives continued to investigate and filed charges against Cheek Thursday, the release says.

Investigators believe that Cheek posted online prostitution ads with photos of the women, arranged appointments and collected the resulting payments, according to the release.

Detectives also believe Cheek was providing drugs to the women in order to keep them in his control, police say. At the time of Cheek’s arrest, a large quantity of drugs, indicative of distribution, were found, the release says.

The victims have been referred to the appropriate services to receive assistance, police say.

In May, Howard County Police charged a Fort Meade man with multiple counts of human trafficking and assault after allegedly trafficking a woman from Maryland to California and back.

Police say there is an ongoing effort to combat prostitution, human trafficking and related offenses. Investigators are focused on arresting traffickers, detectives regularly monitor websites for prostitution ads and the agency offers assistance to victims through treatment, housing, transportation and other services, police say.

Detectives ask anyone who may have information about suspected human trafficking or prostitution to contact police at 410-313-STOP or HCPDcrimetips@howardcountymd.gov.

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