“The people involved in this case are just sick and demented,” Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride said.
August 27 United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy Jr announced that a federal indictment had been handed down against five people on charges related to "conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor and production of child pornography."
“Child sex trafficking is one of the most offensive and reprehensible crimes possible,” said U.S. Attorney McCoy in the release. “Sadly, many of the victims and offenders are hidden in plain sight. With support from our federal, state, and local partners, this office will find those who engage in all forms of human trafficking and bring them to justice. This includes those who patronize these victims. We will also continue to work with support groups here in our community to ensure these victims receive the services they need.”
According to the indictment, beginning sometime last year husband and wife Gary and Shannon Garland are said to have "advertised and transported at least two minors for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts." They are additionally accused of creating child pornography of the minors.
The other three charged in the 10 count indictment, Johnnie Wells, Michael Skelton, and Duwone Allen, have all been charged with sex trafficking children. WSPA reports that an unnamed spokesperson with the South Carolina U.S. Attorney's office has stated that the men have admitted to having sexual relationships with the victims, but not to having knowledge that they were minors.
“These are heinous allegations, and this case would not have been possible without the coordinated efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement departments,” said U.S. Marshal Thomas M. Griffin, Jr. “Any crime against a child is horrific and the United States Marshals Service will utilize any and all available resources so we can bring these offenders to justice.”