Human trafficking arrest made in Blythewood

BLYTHEWOOD – An Ohio man has been arrested in Blythewood for Human Trafficking and Contributing to Delinquency of a Minor.

A Richland County Sheriff’s Department incident report on the arrest was vague and heavily redacted, but stated that Ralpheal Monte Willis, 24, was arrested on Friday, July 28 while walking down a sidewalk in Blythewood with a juvenile who had been reported missing from Ohio.

While the report stated that the incident was initiated on Wednesday, July 26, the report does not refer to anything that prompted the arrest until July 28, when the reporting officer received a call from an FBI agent that a juvenile reported missing from Ohio was located in Richland County.  

A source informed The Voice that a search warrant was served at the motel on Friday, which had been staked out for about four hours on Friday evening before the arrest was made at about 10 p.m. Friday night.

The report states that “a green leafy material believed to be marijuana was found in the suspect’s pocket.” The report also stated that a personal weapon was involved, but it did not state how it was involved.

Willis was booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center later that evening and is being held without bond. The juvenile who was with Willis when he was arrested was taken into protective custody, according to a Richland County public information officer who stated that the SC Department of Social Services is working with her (the juvenile’s) family and a local agency on her next steps.

Prior Arrest

According to an Orange County Florida arrest affidavit obtained by The Voice, Willis had been arrested in Orlando, Florida on July 17 (11 days prior to his Richland County arrest) and charged with Grand Theft 3rd Degree – Motor Vehicle.

When he was arrested, Willis was driving a silver Nissan Altima that matched a vehicle that had been reported stolen from Bedford, Ohio, earlier that day (June 17), according to the report. After the reporting officer confirmed that the vehicle had been reported stolen, Willis was charged and transported to Orange County Booking and Release, the report stated. A supplemental report on the arrest was not available to The Voice at press time.

Besides the Grand Theft charge, Willis was also charged with Possession of Cannabis under 20 Grams (with a weapon), another charge of Possession of Cannabis under 20 Grams, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]