SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office officials said 21 people have been arrested following an undercover human trafficking operation.
According to a sheriff’s office news release, investigators and Homeland Security Investigations conducted an undercover operation to identify and assist victims of human trafficking on Tuesday.
“This operation was conducted by utilizing undercover investigators who communicated with females engaged in the commercial sex trade,” officials said in the release. “An exchange of commercial sex for money was agreed upon, and the females came to a prearranged location. At this time, the females were taken into custody where they were interviewed by investigators and victims advocates to assist them in any way.”
According to the release, 15 people were charged with prostitution and six people were charged with solicitation of prostitution.
Sheriff’s Office officials said some of the females were found to be under the influence of drugs, as well as in possession of drugs at the time.
One female was charged with resisting arrest, and another female was taken to Spartanburg Medical Center for treatment for what appeared to be an abscess on her arm. Doctors later determined that it was an infected broken needle from previous heroin use.
According to the release, she was treated and admitted into the medical center.
Investigators located several people who were responsible for transporting the females to a location for the purpose of commercial sex. Those individuals were also taken into custody and charged with prostitution, as well as for other crimes such as three counts of possession of methamphetamine, two counts of possession with intent to distribute heroin, two counts of unlawful carrying of a weapon, possession of a schedule II, possession of a schedule III, driving under suspension, habitual traffic offender and financial transaction card theft.
The following people were charged as a result of the investigation:
- Thomas Obryan Williamson – prostitution
- Wayne Thurmond – prostitution, driving under suspension, habitual traffic offender
- Annie Firebaugh – prostitution, possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of methamphetamine, unlawful carry of a firearm
- Krist Roker – prostitution, possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of methamphetamine, unlawful carry of a firearm
- Michael Jordan Walker- prostitution
- Erike Goode – prostitution
- Rusty Reeves – prostitution
- Nicholas Shawn Ingram – solicitation of prostitution, and a pending charge of possession of methamphetamine
- Matthew Ryan Scharlau – solicitation of prostitution
- Alejandro Rodriguez-Perez – solicitation of prostitution
- Jeremy Daniel Kneisley – solicitation of prostitution
- William Michael Young – solicitation of prostitution
- Usher Christian Dickens – solicitation of prostitution
According to the release, Firebaugh and Roker took one of the females to a location.
At the time they were taken into custody, investigators found a 10-month-old child in the vehicle belonging to Firebaugh.
Heroin, methamphetamine and a firearm were also found in a backpack in the vehicle.
“Due to Annie Firebaugh being arrested for the above charges and placing her child at unreasonable risk of harm affecting the child’s life, physical health and safety, the minor child was placed into emergency protective custody,” according to the release.
On Wednesday, investigators conducted an operation targeting “Johns,” the individuals who are buyers of commercial sex.
“During this portion of the operation, an online ad was posted by investigators. Six male individuals responded to the ad and agreed to exchange a value of US currency for commercial sex acts,” sheriff’s office officials said. “These males individuals were then provided a location to meet an undercover officer where they provided US currency to the undercover officer. At this time, they were taken into custody and charged with Solicitation of Prostitution.”
One of the males brought methamphetamine to the location with him, and charges for possession of methamphetamine are pending at this time.