A Maryland man was found guilty of four counts of human trafficking Wednesday for trafficking four women at a motel in Elkridge last summer.
Ronald Willis Cheek, 49, was arrested in July at the Terrace Motel after police received a tip about suspicious activity, the Howard County state’s attorney’s office said in a news release.
Howard County police found Cheek and four women, ranging in age from 20 to 28, in the motel on Washington Boulevard upon arriving. The women were from Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, police said.
The victims told police that Cheek paid for the motel room and gave them food, clothes and drugs.
Detectives uncovered prostitution ads with photos of the four, who informed police they would arrange dates and give the money to Cheek.
Cheek was arrested on an open arrest warrant for fraud in Virginia and held without bond at the Howard County Detention Center, police said.
He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 21 in Howard County Circuit Court.
“Human trafficking cases are very difficult to prove,” said Rich Gibson, Howard County’s State’s Attorney, in a statement. “The victims are often so traumatized they don’t want to testify and that means predators, like Mr. Cheek, are able to continue their destructive behavior. I am grateful that in this case, through the efforts of our prosecution and Howard County Police, we were able to convince the jury of the true nature of Mr. Cheek’s conduct.”
In September 2013, Maryland State Police charged Cheek with rape and human trafficking. An underage girl told police at the time that Cheek raped her in a La Plata hotel.
Below is the location where authorities arrested Cheek in July.