Crime

State: S. Dade men kidnapped runaway teen, forced her into prostitution

Tavarus Ballard
Tavarus Ballard Miami-Dade Corrections

Two South Miami-Dade men forced a 16-year-old runaway girl to prostitute around the clock — while lacing her food with drugs and beating her — before she managed to escape, authorities said Tuesday.

Bogacski Thomas, 24, and Tavarus Ballard, 24, forced the girl to have sex with up to 10 men a day, sometimes inside a gas station bathroom or in the back of a car, police said. Her ordeal lasted about two weeks.

“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.

Authorities this week charged the men with human trafficking and numerous other felonies.

According to an arrest warrant, the teen — who police said was a runaway — met the men through a friend in January. They began plying her with drugs: Molly in her food, cocaine in her cigarettes.

The men forced her to walk along Campbell Drive, Krome Avenue and South Dixie Highway to lure men. “Thomas told the victim that if she tried to leave they knew where her family lived and they would shoot up her house and hurt or kill her family,” the warrant said.

On Jan. 22, the teen girl escaped from a motel room and hopped on a county bus, only to be found by Thomas and Ballard. Inside a vacant house, they beat her up before she managed to escape again, police said.

The men were still jailed Tuesday evening.

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