ELKRIDGE, Md. (WJZ) — A 49-year-old Waldorf man was charged with trafficking four women at an Elkridge motel.
Ronald Willis Cheek was charged with nine counts of human trafficking, five counts of prostitution and three counts of drug charges, including possession with intent to distribute.
Howard County police got a tip on July 10 about suspicious activity at the Terrace Motel in the 6200 block of Washington Boulevard. When they arrived they found four women, ranging in age from 20 to 28, with Cheek. He was taken into custody on an open warrant from Virginia.
Officers recognized signs of human trafficking and after investigating filed charges against Cheek on July 11.
Investigators believe Cheek places ads online with photos of the women, arranged appointments and collected the payments. Police also believe Cheek gave the women drugs in order to control them. At the time of his arrest, police found drugs that would be enough to distribute.
The victims are from Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. They were referred to groups that can help them.
Howard County Police actively target human traffickers regularly.
Investigators are asking anyone who may have information about suspected human trafficking or prostitution to contact police at 410-313-STOP or HCPDcrimetips@howardcountymd.gov.