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Waldorf man gets 42 years for human trafficking

A 49-year-old Waldorf man was sentenced to 42 years in prison for human trafficking, the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office announced Friday night.

In January, Ronald Willis Cheek was convicted on four counts of human trafficking and, in a separate case, pleaded guilty to two counts of drug possession, a cocaine charge and a fentanyl charge.

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Both cases occurred in Elkridge, prosecutors said. No information was available regarding Cheek’s drug possession case.

On July 10, Howard County police received a tip about suspicious activity at the Terrace Motel in the 6200 block of Washington Boulevard in Elkridge. Officers found four women from Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, ages 20 to 28, at the motel with Cheek.

The four women told police Cheek paid for the motel room, food, clothing and drugs.

At the time, Cheek was taken into custody for an open arrest warrant for fraud in Virginia, police said.

During the investigation, police discovered online prostitution ads with photos of the four women.

Howard County Circuit Court Judge Timothy J. McCrone “compared Cheek’s behavior to modern day slavery, saying he [Cheek] didn’t need chains because he had drugs to control the victims,” according to a news release.

“You deal in the destruction of human beings,” McCrone said.

Cheek received 10 years for each human trafficking count and one year for each drug possession count.

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