Crime

Preacher known as ‘Romeo’ accused of forcing boys into prostitution and drugs, cops say

Ron Maurice Cooper, also known in the market as “Romeo.” On the human trafficking arrest report, he lists his occupation as a preacher.
Ron Maurice Cooper, also known in the market as “Romeo.” On the human trafficking arrest report, he lists his occupation as a preacher. Miami-Dade County Jail

A 52-year-old Miami man was charged with human trafficking charges after he forced male minors into prostitution, authorities said.

According to the arrest report, Ron Maurice Cooper, also known in the market as “Romeo,” recruited several male teenagers, 16 to 18 years old, by telling them they could make money by modeling. On the arrest report, he lists his occupation as a preacher.

He faces human trafficking, false imprisonment, sexual activity with a minor and drug charges, a report by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office Human Tracking Unit said.

According to the report, the teens had been introduced to Cooper through a friend and they initially met with him to get their photos taken.

After the photos were taken, Cooper arranged separate follow-up meetings with the teens, Cooper, and who the victims thought would be the photographer. But when the aspiring models arrived at the hotel room for the photo shoot, they were met with a man who informed them that the meeting was to engage in sexual activities, the report said.

All the victims said that was their first time having intercourse with another man and that they felt like they had to do it because they were scared, the report said.

According to the report, Cooper used sites like Backpage, Craigslist and Badoo to post the victims’ photos and negotiate sexual acts and prices with clients. Cooper would then pick them up at the victims’ homes or the Miami Playground Adult Mega Store at Northwest 36th Street and 27th Avenue.

If the victim didn’t answer the door or phone, which happened on more than one occasion, Cooper would bang on the door or send someone to fetch them, the report said.

According to the report, all the victims said it was common practice for Cooper to give them crystal methamphetamine or “Tina” to make them sexually aroused. He would also give them Viagra, Xanax and alcohol to help them relax and perform better.

Cooper allegedly waited outside, where he would take his cut of the money when the boy returned. It was never less than half the profit.

Victims told authorities Cooper verbally and physically abused them, shouting “I’m going to kill you,” and “You better get my f------ money.” When he was really angry, they said, he’d grab them by both arms, shake them, put his face close to theirs and yell at them.

He raped and sexually assaulted the boys, and on two occasions beat someone up in front of them, according to the report. If they didn’t want to have sex for money, he allegedly told them, they’d have to steal for him.

Cooper, who was arrested Monday and remains jailed without bond.

  Comments