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Local woman among those charged in human trafficking

A Laurens County woman is among five people charged in an ongoing investigation by South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for sex trafficking involving minors at a Columbia hotel.
Arrests have been ongoing since this spring for incidents which took place earlier this year.

According to a SLED release received Thursday evening, four additional arrests have taken place during this year and most recently on Dec. 7.

The following four all involve incidents at HomeTowne Studios and Suites, 350 Columbiana Dr. in Columbia.
Monesha Tatayana Lapri Gary, 24, of Laurens County, who was charged on Thursday, May 11, 2023, with 4 counts of Trafficking in Persons, Victim under 18 years old – 1st Offense. 
The incidents all occurred during April, 2023.

—Rebecca Melanie Perry, 29, from Fayetteville, N.C., charged on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, with Trafficking in Persons, Victim under 18 years old – 1st Offense. The incidents occurred in February, first in Augusta, Ga. then in Columbia, S.C..

—Antonio Marquis Nicholson, 32, of West Columbia, charged on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, with 4 counts of Trafficking in Persons, Victim under 18 years old – 1st Offense. Incidents took place during February and March, 2023.

—Terrell Counts, 32, of Columbia, on Wednesday, charged May 24, 2023, with Trafficking in Persons, Victim under 18 years old.

Also charged was —Jared H. Pease, 56, of Darlington, charged on Thursday, November 9, 2023, with 3 counts of Trafficking in Persons, Victim under 18 years old – 1st Offense. 

The following agencies continue to assist with this ongoing investigation: Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Columbia Police Department, West Columbia Police Department, Darlington County Sheriff’s Office, Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, Horry County Sheriff’s Office, Myrtle Beach Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigations. 

The case will be prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
Anyone with information about suspicious behavior or possible illicit activity that could involve 
Human Trafficking should contact tips@sled.sc.gov

If you or someone you know may be a victim of Human Trafficking, survivor resources with the South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force can be found at www.scag.gov/human-trafficking and the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network at www.scvan.org

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