Last month, police arrested Roman Thomas III, 26, of Miami for his involvement in a human trafficking investigation. At present, Thomas was on probation after he was incarcerated for four years when he was convicted of having sex with a minor. He was released from state prison prior to this latest arrest, and was wearing a Florida state corrections Department GPS monitor when Miami police again took him into custody on March 18.
Thomas has an extensive criminal past. He was charged with attempted murder and felony battery, as well as other assorted charges in 2008, and wound up pleading guilty to the battery charge and four counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a minor child g aged between 12 and 16.
After the completion of his prison sentence, Thomas was released in September, and placed on five years’ probation with the attached ankle monitor.
The monitor was inspected lastly on March 1 by state probation officers who found no problem with its functionality. But the court was notified that the officers in charge of the oversight of the device received a “bracelet gone” alarm on March 10.
Police charge that Thomas, who goes by the street name of “Suave”, forced a 13-year old girl to have both of her eyelids tattooed with his street name.
According to The Miami Herald, Thomas, who has an extensive criminal record, allegedly forced the underage girl to go with him to a flea market tattoo parlor, located in Liberty City; after she threatened to leave him. Inking the girl with his mark was punishment for her threatening to leave, and apparently his attempt to break her down and completely dominate her.
The runaway girl, nicknamed “Sparkle,” who supposedly ran away from her home to escape a muddled family life was pimped out by way of the classified advertising section of backpage.com, a website that allows the posting of escort services, police say.
Thomas and another woman, Shanteria Sanders, 23, also of Miami, taught the girl how to solicit johns and gave her condoms, provided her with marijuana, alcohol, and the drug known as “Molly” to loosen her up in preparation for having sex with men at the Miami Shores Motel.
Investigators first found out about the abuse after the victim’s mother tracked her daughter to the Miami hotel. Police then took the youth from the hotel and placed Thomas and Sanders under arrest.
The two suspects allegedly convinced the victim to work as a prostitute. Ms. Sanders, who also displays Thomas’s “Suave” tattoo across her chest, was also charged in the offense.
The drug “Molly”, indicated by its most common name “Ecstasy”, is a stimulant, considered to be an illegal recreational drug. It was originally used as a treatment used in psychotherapy. It is said to be safe in doses up to 75mg, but has exhibited that it can cause neurotoxic effects in higher doses. It’s one of the most popular recreational substances used by a multitude of people on a yearly basis.
“It’s outrageous that this girl would be branded for life at such an early age, on of all places her eyelids,” said Miami Lt. Jose Alfonso, who was the lead investigator in the case laid out by the State Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit.
Thomas will be formally charged in the new case on April 13. The charges include the delivery of a controlled substance to a child, human trafficking, lewd and lascivious exhibition and false imprisonment. As previously mentioned, Ms. Sanders faces the same charges as a collaborator in the crime.
The victim is now getting treatment and rehabilitation caused by her ordeal in a program known as Project Gold.
Project Gold is a group that is dedicated to assisting abused victims, and is operated by the Miami Kristi House, a private, non-profit organization, devoted to the therapy and elimination of sexual abuse of children.
In October 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) made human trafficking a Federal crime. The consequences of a conviction for the above listed charges, especially those of minors are extremely severe and often include extended incarceration, including the possibility of life in prison. If found guilty of these charges, in its best outcome, the burden of a permanent criminal record and having to register as a sexual offender for the rest of one’s life will apply. It is crucial that if a person is charged with a crime of human trafficking, to immediately contact a reputable criminal attorney, with experience in the defense of these matters.
If you or someone you know is facing charges of human trafficking or any of the other charges mentioned above, call Mr. Cohen’s office at 954-928-0059. Mr. Cohen’s experience as well as his previous work as a Federal Prosecutor can assist you by delivering the best possible outcome of the charges alleged by the prosecution.
Mr. Cohen’s practice has recently expanded and he is now a partner in the prestigious law firm of McLaughlin & Stern, LLP. Through this partnership, Mr. Cohen can now lead your defense in the New York Metropolitan area in addition to the Broward, Dade, or Palm Beach County areas as well as all other jurisdictions throughout the state of Florida
Mr. Cohen is a board certified criminal trial lawyer rated AV by Martindale Hubbel (pre-eminent) and a “Super Lawyer” recognized as being in the top 5% of his specialized field (criminal trial law) among Florida lawyers. He is considered a specialist by the Florida Bar in his field. Mr. Cohen has tried scores of cases over his 35 year career and is a member of the Florida and New York Bars. He practices in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami, among other counties. He is also admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh and Second Circuit.
Mr. Cohen is also listed in the 2013 edition of “Best Lawyers in America“.