MIAMI - Four South Florida men are accused of running a prostitution ring that preyed on children in foster care.
The suspects have been identified as Eric Earle Jr., Willie Bivens, Anturell Nathaniel Dean and David Zrifi.
Police and prosecutors arrested the men Monday as part of an ongoing investigation. They are charged with conspiracy, racketeering and unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
The men plied the girls with cash, affection and gifts, authorities said.
"It started as a romance. A lot of them do," said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
Prosecutors said Earle was the ringleader. According to court documents, Earle started a relationship with a girl living in a group foster home and used her to recruit other victims.
Dean, Earle's stepbrother, is accused of grooming the victims for sex. Then, Zrifi is accused of supplying the teens with cellphones, picking them up from school and driving them to Bivens' house in Homestead.
Investigators said johns came to the home and paid $100 to have sex with the teenagers. From the $100, the girls were paid $30 to $40, prosecutors said.
The investigation reportedly began in December when a foster child disclosed that she was having consensual sex with a man.
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