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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 3, 2019

Jacksonville Man Pleads Guilty To Transporting North Carolina Woman To Florida For Prostitution

Jacksonville, Florida – Richard Ronnie Jenkins (39, Jacksonville) today pleaded guilty to transporting a person in interstate commerce for the purpose of prostitution. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, Jenkins met the victim (N.J.) on July 14, 2019, after N.J. had posted an online advertisement for prostitution in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Jenkins agreed to pay N.J. $160 for sex, then fraudulently told N.J. that she could make a lot more money by engaging in prostitution in Jacksonville, Florida. N.J. agreed to go to Jacksonville with Jenkins, not knowing that Jenkins intended to keep all of the money that N.J. would make. Jenkins then had sex with N.J. in his car and refused to pay her.

As Jenkins drove through the night from North Carolina to Jacksonville, he instructed N.J. to begin posting advertisements for prostitution in the Jacksonville area using a phone number with an app-generated 904 area code. When they arrived in Jacksonville on July 15, 2019, Jenkins obtained a hotel room and arranged three prostitution “dates” for N.J. The following day, Jenkins arranged a fourth “date” for N.J. Jenkins supervised each of these “dates” from the hotel parking lot. He came to the room after each “date” to collect all of the money, which he refused to share with N.J. N.J. engaged in the “dates” because she was afraid of Jenkins and because she had no funds or other resources that she could use to leave.

On July 16, 2019, Jenkins took N.J. to a hair braiding shop in Jacksonville and instructed the employees to place long braids in N.J.’s hair. Jenkins then left the shop. Believing that the shop employees were associates of Jenkins, N.J. took her phone into the bathroom, contacted a family member, and reported that she was in Jacksonville with a pimp. N.J.’s mother contacted the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) and reported that N.J. had been kidnapped. During the phone call, N.J. can be heard crying and stating that Jenkins was trying to call her and, that if she did not answer, she believed that Jenkins would find her and kill her. A JSO patrol officer responded to the shop and recovered N.J. Shortly thereafter, Jenkins was arrested nearby.

This case was investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Laura Cofer Taylor and Special Assistant United States Attorney Erin Wolfson.

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Updated October 3, 2019