Everybody’s got a story, even if it’s a bad one. Take the seven recent arrests involving human trafficking that the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
There’s the accused pimp whose female minions battered a woman into prostitution after her friends lured her to Disney World from North Carolina. There’s the 16-year-old found naked in a hotel room with her accused pimp also naked. There’s the 19-year-old beaten when she refused to have sex with customers pulled in off Backpage.com.
Though the individual stories deal in human depravity, the arrests mark a few more successes for the Human Trafficking Unit under Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. Fernandez Rundle said the unit that includes detectives from Miami, Miami-Dade, Miami Beach, Sunny Isles Beach and Doral has arrested more than 400 human traffickers and sexual predators and released more than 500 victims.
“People think of the victims as foreigners or people from somewhere else,” Fernandez Rundle said, “but 67 percent of victims are local girls and boys. These are our kids.”
And these are the people arrested on charges related to using and abusing them:
▪ Alexander Brown, 33, is jailed without bond on a charge of human trafficking of a minor for commercial sexual purposes. His other charges are lewd and lascivious battery on a child aged 12 to 16; deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution (being a pimp); custodial interference; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He’s familiar with some of these charges. His record includes paying a $458 fine on a misdemeanor conviction of renting a space for prostitution. No action was taken on his previous arrest for human trafficking and pimping.
Fernandez Rundle said Brown worked with 20-year-old Jakeara Peak, who taught the aforementioned 16-year-old “how to dress and how to sell her body for sex,” Fernandez Rundle said. “When these girls try to escape, they’re beaten, drugged, branded or [pimps] threaten to harm their loved ones.”
Peak was out on bond after a misdemeanor prostitution bust in February. Now, she got no bond with the charge of human trafficking of a minor for commercial sexual purposes. She also faces custodial interference and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
▪ Kudrika Cureton, 44, was the man who authorities say got a single mother under his thumb with the Disney World con. He got friends of the young woman, a Miami native living in North Carolina, to convince her to come to Disney World with her toddler.
“When she got there, they beat her into submission, locked her up,” Fernandez Rundle said. “They beat her in front of her 18-month-old child.”
Cureton’s in jail with a $140,000 bond on charges of human trafficking for commercial sexual activity, child abuse, battery and third degree grand theft.
▪ Michael Anthony Miller, Fernandez Rundle said, came to Miami from Arizona with a woman he’d pimped out at the Super Bowl in Houston. She escaped him long enough to get to a Miami Beach hotel and call her mother in Arizona. The mother phoned the Miami Beach police, who called the state attorney’s office.
Miller, 55, got a $155,000 bond on charges of human trafficking for commercial sexual activity, pimping, false imprisonment. He’s also got a traffic warrant and warrant for misdemeanor marijuana possession.
▪ Juan Carlos Carret, 23, had a warrant for knowingly driving without a license when he was arrested for pimping, battery and human trafficking for commercial sexual activity. Carret’s the one who, Fernandez Rundle said, hit the young woman he’d advertised on Backpage.com when she didn’t want to have sex with a john. He’s in jail on $16,500 bond.
▪ Two men arrested, 28-year-old Lee Dal Love Jr. and Juan Aguilar already are out of jail. Love posted $5,500 bond on charges of pimping and renting space for the purpose of prostitution. Aguilar posted bond after being charged with pimping.
In 2012, when Fernandez Rundle formed the Human Trafficking Unit, Florida was second in the nation in human trafficking.
Fernandez Rundle says, “We’ve now dropped to third in human trafficking.”