Four people federally charged in child sex trafficking and child exploitation case

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Acting U.S. Attorney for the district of South Carolina, M. Rhett DeHart, announced Thursday that four individuals have been charged by a federal grand jury in a 13-count indictment for their roles in alleged child sex trafficking, production of child pornography, and coercion and enticement of a minor.

This case involves activity spanning from Arizona to South Carolina.

Hart Williams Grow, 25, of Surprise, Arizona, has been charged with conspiracy to sexually traffic a minor, sexual trafficking of a minor, conspiracy to produce child pornography and to coerce and entice a minor, four counts of production of child pornography involving two victims, four counts of coercion and enticement of a minor involving two victims, and possession of child pornography.

Theodore Woolings Bye, III, 36, of Myrtle Beach, has been charged with conspiracy to sexually traffic a minor, sexual trafficking of minor, conspiracy to produce child pornography and to coerce and entice a minor, two counts of production of child pornography, two counts of coercion and enticement of a minor, and possession of child pornography.

Sanadin Mohamed Elrayes, 28, of Surfside Beach, and Charles Joseph Spillane, 44, of Myrtle Beach, have both been charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography and to coerce and entice a minor.

The indictment alleges that since at least April 2020, Grow and Bye conspired to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, maintain, patronize, and solicit a minor victim in South Carolina to engage in a commercial sex act.

The record in the case alleges that Grow, from his home in Arizona and through the internet, misrepresented to various minors across the country that he was also a minor and was interested in a relationship.  In this case, Grow allegedly claimed to a minor victim that he was a 17-year-old female named “Hannah” living in Columbia, South Carolina.

According to court records, Grow used message boards and social media to make his minor victim available to adult males for sexual encounters in exchange for the men sending visual depictions of the sexual encounters to him. 

The indictment alleges that Bye, with the direction and logistical assistance of Grow, not only participated in the sexual acts with the victim but also made the victim available for sex on numerous occasions to other men. 

The indictment further alleges that Elrayes and Spillane responded to Bye’s internet postings and, after communicating with Bye via social media and text messages, engaged in sexually explicit conduct with the minor for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of the acts.

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According to court records, the defendants used social media applications, including Snapchat, Wattpad, and Kik to communicate with the victims and with each other. 

Grow and Bye face a maximum penalty of life, and Elrayes and Spillane face a maximum penalty of five years.  All defendants are currently detained.

“Human trafficking and child exploitation is real, and it is happening in South Carolina,” said South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark Keel.  “We have and will continue to work in collaboration with our local and federal partners to rescue those being victimized and bring justice to those who profit from the misery of others.”

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