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Man, 19-year-old woman accused of trafficking Lakeland 18-year-old in Miami-Dade – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

MIAMI SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) – Authorities have arrested a man and woman accused of trafficking a young woman in Miami-Dade County.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, in addition to other law enforcement agencies, announced the arrests of 32-year-old Saint Matthew Hopson and 19-year-old Atilia Cleto Thomas.

According to a press release from the state attorney’s office, investigators learned the 18-year-old victim met Hopson through Facebook’s dating feature.

Investigators said Hopson began grooming the victim by making her think he was interested in having a relationship. Shortly after connecting, Hopson allegedly drove to Lakeland, where the victim lived, and brought her to a hotel in Miami Springs.

Detectives said Hopson told the victim he managed an escort service and introduced her to Atilia Thomas.

Investigators said Hopson bought the 18-year-old clothes from Victoria’s Secret and had her wear them and pose for photos, which he then had Thomas upload to an escort website without the girl’s knowledge.

Detectives said Hopson tried to get the girl to have sex with a customer but she did not do so. Authorities also said that Hopson sexually assaulted the victim several times.

According to the press release, after threatening to kill the victim if she called police and threatening the victim’s family, Hopson drove her back to Lakeland, and she was eventually reunited with family.

The victim called police and officers were eventually able to arrest Hopson and Thomas.

Authorities said Hopson had previous charges of prostitution-related arrests in multiple states and charges for kidnapping. He also was recently released from prison and is currently on probation in North Carolina.

He currently faces a slew of charges including human trafficking, sexual battery and prostitution charges. Thomas also faces human trafficking and prostitution-related charges.

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