YORK COUNTY, SC – Two York County Sheriff’s Office Sergeants received Awards of Merit for making the first federal human trafficking case in South Carolina. Sgt. Terry Vinesett and Sgt. Phillip Aldridge used human trafficking training to proactively identify and investigate prostitution taking place around the Carowinds Boulevard area of Fort Mill, SC.
In January 2014, Sgt. Vinesett and Sgt. Aldridge requested human trafficking training, based partly on the number of prostitution complaints in the Carowinds Blvd. area. On September 15, 2014, Vinesett and Aldridge responded to a hotel off Carowinds Blvd. in response to a prostitution complaint. Vinesett and Aldridge discovered two female prostitutes and a male who was associated with the females. After learning one of the females was underage, Vinesett and Aldridge called Special Agent Dave Dawson of the FBI in Charlotte, NC.
(Pictured L-R) Special Agent Dawson, Sgt. Aldridge, Sgt. Vinesett, Sheriff Kevin Tolson.
The investigation revealed the male, Martin Meggett, was a pimp who had been working with prostitutes for more than a year. Meggett also had been working with the underage female for several months. The case uncovered Meggett used several backpage.com advertisements posted in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. This information in turn identified several other females who worked as prostitutes with Meggett in the past as well as his recruitment of vulnerable victims.
On April 22, 2015, Meggett was indicted on federal human trafficking charges. Meggett pled guilty to one count of Sex Trafficking of a Minor. He was sentenced February 9, 2016, to 10 years of incarceration, 10 years of supervised release, and also required to register as a sex offender.
Through the training they proactively sought, Sgt. Vinesett and Aldridge were able to recognize signs of possible human sex trafficking and contact the FBI while still on scene with the victims, which produced an immediate response.
Going above and beyond of what was expected in the scope of their duties, Vinesett and Aldridge were able to take a sex predator off the streets of our area.