|IT Based Tactics
Laurens County is a county of about 68,000 in upstate South Carolina, and is included in the Greenville, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county seat is Laurens. Prostitution has occurred in the area, in connection with drugs and theft, as well as documented child sex trafficking. To combat demand, sex buyer arrests and identity disclosure have occurred in the county.
In July 2017, Laurens City Police arrested two Laurens County men and a Charlotte woman on prostitution-related charges, alleging sex was exchanged for money in a vehicle parked behind a vacant house on Price Street. The woman was charged with Prostitution 1st Offense after allegedly meeting a man on Price Street, agreeing to exchange $100 for sex, and then engaging in sexual activities in a parked car. The man was also charged with 1st Offense Prostitution for the incident, as well as allegedly aiding another in prostitution by paying for gas and buying condoms, knowing this assistance would result in prostitution on Price Street. Another man was arrested for prostitution, assault, and battery after he allegedly met with the same woman and agreed to pay $100 for sex, then engaged in sexual activities in a car parked behind the same vacant house. The second man allegedly assaulted a victim by striking her in the face and head with his fist. The arrestees’ identities were released to the press.
In June 2018, an investigation into the death of a Laurens woman whose body was found by the side of a Mountville road led to a man being arrested for soliciting prostitution and other crimes. The woman’s body was found on the side of Beaverdam Church Road in Mountville when a farmer saw her body while he was driving his tractor down the road. The initial autopsy report ruled out foul play, but the official cause of death was still unknown pending the toxicology report. While investigating the circumstances of her death, officers learned the woman had gotten into a vehicle with an unknown person at a gas station at the intersection of Highway 76 and Torrington Road in Clinton. After posting photos of the person on Facebook, deputies received tips and identified the man, a Clinton resident. Officers found the man and later arrested him, charging him with obstruction of justice, drug conspiracy, and soliciting prostitution. Warrants alleged that the day before the body was discovered, the man solicited the woman for sex and paid her $25. He was charged with obstructing justice because he allegedly hindered officers in recovering the woman’s body by removing her body from a vehicle and placing her on the side of the road without notifying law enforcement. The man’s identity was disclosed to the press.
In January 2023, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of a convicted sex offender with a long criminal history following an officer-involved shooting in Gray Court. Deputies were investigating a grand larceny case and issued a warrant for the 42-year-old suspect, who was wanted for burglary, malicious injury to property, grand larceny, prostitution, and failure to register as a sex offender. According to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) sex offender registry, the man was convicted of first-degree assault and battery in 2017. While trying to take the man into custody, he opened fire on deputies before barricading himself in a shed. Deputies returned fire but no one was injured. SLED agents requested backup from SWAT, paramedics, Laurens County EMS, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. The man was transported to the Laurens County Detention Center and his identity was released to the press. His criminal convictions dated back to 1998, including prior arrests for domestic violence, failure to stop for blue lights resulting in death, grand larceny, driving under suspension, drug possession, and sex offender registry violation.
In February 2023, the Laurens Police Department arrested an unknown felon who thought he was meeting a child to sexually abuse. Detectives arranged for the man to meet up with who he thought was a 14-year-old child, and then attempted to arrest the man when he showed up at the meeting location. However, the man fled in his vehicle, leading to a high-speed chase through the city. Officers deployed stop sticks to stop the man, and his vehicle became disabled and collided with another. No injuries were reported by the third party. The man was extracted from his vehicle and taken into custody, and police found $18,000 of counterfeit merchandise, a 9mm semi-auto pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15 style rifle with hundreds of round of ammunition, and $14,000 in cash when they searched his vehicle. The man was charged with possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, criminal sexual conduct with a minor third degree, solicitation of a minor for sex, failure to stop for blue lights, and distribution of counterfeit goods/merchandise. The man’s identity was released to the press.
- Laurens City Police Department
- Lauren’s County Sheriff’s Office
- South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED)
- Laurens County EMS
- Anderson County Sheriff’s Office
- Greenville County Sheriff’s Office
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://wlbg.com/prostitution-behind-vacant-laurens-house (2017)
- https://www.indexjournal.com/news/crime/laurens-county-deputies-make-arrest-while-investigating-womans-death (2018)
- https://wlbg.com/mans-arrest-tied-to-body-found-in-mountville (2018)
- https://www.golaurens.com/news/clinton-man-arrested-during-investigation-of-womans-death-in-mountville (2018)
- https://www.foxcarolina.com/large-law-enforcement-presence-laurens-county (2023)
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.wyff4.com/article/police-chase-sex-counterfeit-bust-south-carolina (2023)
- https://www.foxcarolina.com/man-expecting-meet-child-sexual-encounter-arrested-police-say (2023)
Prostitution and Child Sex Trafficking in the Area: