BOONE COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - A Northern Kentucky man has been charged with multiple sex crimes involving a 13-year-old girl, according to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office believes more victims of a similar age exist.
Tyreecse Merritt, 22, of Florence, Ky., was introduced to the 13-year-old victim early in 2020 when he began selling her marijuana, according to a sheriff’s office release issued Wednesday.
“They communicated initially through some social media apps and then began meeting up,” Lt. Philip Ridgell explained. “As time passed and in a very short period of time, their relationship developed into a sexual relationship.”
Merritt, according to the sheriff’s office, provided marijuana to her in exchange for sex.
The release says he raped and sodomized her several times.
The victim’s guardian found out and told authorities over the weekend, Ridgell explained.
“As anyone would expect, they were upset,” he said.
Boone County detectives arrested Merritt on Wednesday and have charged him with three counts of human trafficking, three counts of rape, five counts of sodomy, and three counts of unlawful transaction with a minor.
In an interview with detectives, he admitted he has a “thriving drug operation” with a clientele typically between the ages of 13 and 16 years old, according to the sheriff’s office release.
The release adds Merritt told detectives he prefers to surround himself with similarly aged females and that he has had sexual contact with some of them.
“We believe there are potential future victims that we will learn about,” Ridgell said. “We want those victims to come forward.”
He is currently being held at the Boone County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond.