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Brothers drugged, beat, threatened girl so they could prostitute her, prosecutor says

Tavarus Ballard, Bogacski Thomas face human trafficking charges

MIAMI – Two brothers were arrested on human trafficking charges after they drugged, beat and intimidated a teenage girl into prostitution in southwest Miami-Dade County, the county's top prosecutor said.

Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle on Tuesday announced the arrests of Tavarus Ballard, 24, and his brother, Bogacski Thomas, 23.

Rundle said they preyed on a 16-year-old runaway who was a friend of a friend. She said they beat and drugged her so that they could prostitute her, at times to as many as 24 men per night.

"They gave her cocaine," Rundle said. "They gave her marijuana. Sometimes they put it in her food."

Rundle said the girl "would have to have sex with men for money in order to be able to pay for the hotels, and for them to eat."

The men also threatened to kill the girl's family members if she didn't cooperate, Rundle said.

According to a police detective, the brothers would make the girl walk along busy intersections in southwest Miami-Dade County, where her customers were migrant workers who would have sex with her in gas station bathrooms.

"One or both of them were always keeping their eye on her," Rundle said.

The brothers were being held without bond.

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