A driver fled a police traffic stop over the summer in Trenton and led officers on a brief, but high-speed chase in which he crashed into an unmarked police car, ran a red light and got his vehicle up to 80 miles per hour before crashing again into a taxi, authorities said.
Ronald D. Harris still wasn’t done, the state Attorney General’s Office said.
The 40-year-old grabbed a black duffel bag from his wrecked vehicle and ran from cops on foot, but did not get very far. New Jersey State Police and Trenton officers arrested him and found three handguns in the bag – two of which had illegal, extended bullet cartridges, authorities said.
Also in the vehicle was a 16-year-old girl, authorities revealed Monday, and Harris was prostituting the girl at a local motel, the Attorney General’s Office alleged. The girl had been reported missing by her family.
The girl told investigators that Harris had rented a room at a Trenton hotel for her to engage in prostitution that night. Search warrants on three phones Harris had that night further show he was actively advertising sex with the girl and charging additional money for specific sexual services, the AG’s office alleged.
Harris, who was re-arrested Nov. 19, is now charged with human trafficking, promoting prostitution of a minor and promoting organized street crime – all first-degree felonies that carry significant prison terms. He is also charged with facilitating human trafficking, a second-degree crime, in addition to the numerous weapons charges he faces from the July 21 pursuit and arrest, authorities said.
One of the weapons charges accuses him of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
“Human traffickers lack any sense of morality or compassion as they essentially treat their victims, who are often children, as commodities rather than human beings, allowing them to be sexually abused repeatedly,” New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan said in a statement announcing Harris’ arrest.
“This type of cruelty is unimaginable, and the New Jersey State Police and our partners will do everything in our power to remove these despicable criminals from the streets and ensure that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
State Police Detective Kyle Feigley is the lead investigator on the case, and Deputy Attorney General Katherine Morris is prosecuting the case.
Members of the public who suspect human trafficking can report it confidentially by calling the state Division of Criminal Justice’s Human Trafficking Hotline 1-855-END-NJ-HT.
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Kevin Shea may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.