Two behind bars in sex trafficking investigation

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019
News 12 at 11

Craig Ellis Codd, 52, (R) and Simon Lavor Hammond, 39, (L) have both been charged with trafficking in persons. (Source: Aiken County Sheriff's Office)

AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- Two men, Craig Codd and Simon Hammond, are behind bars for sex trafficking charges and are facing 10 more counts each after a four-month investigation.

Investigators also say three women have been rescued.

Police served warrants on two homes on Justee Drive in Trenton earlier today. In addition to the sheriff's office, customs and border patrol, as well as the Department of Homeland Security were on hand to uncover this horrific operation.

"They're already involved in criminal activity so this just adds to it," said

52-year-old Craig Codd and 39-year-old Simon Hammond are each charged with 10 counts of "trafficking in persons."

Their homes were raided down a lonely dirt road on Justee Drive in Trenton.

"This has become more and more of a regular thing for law enforcement to investigate," said Sheriff Michael Hunt.

Sheriff Michael hunt says these types of crimes are more frequent lately. They brought in their federal and state partners because the activity could span multiple states.

"We have an interstate very close to us, so it's very easy," said Hunt.

Arrest warrants say the two men held three women aged 18-38 against their will, under threat of physical harm or worse if they tried to escape.

Since it's an isolated rural area, there are no other homes aside from a few mobile units around.

"Very serious because they do threaten them with violence. If they don't do exactly what is asked of them then they are punished with violence," said Hunt.

Right now it's not clear if this was part of a larger operation.

"We don't know yet. Like I said it's still under investigation. I think we'll find out more as we interview some of these victims and maybe some more victims come forward," said Hunt.

The I-20 corridor can be a dangerous alleyway for crimes like this, especially when big events come to town. The sheriff says they worry about these crimes every day.

"This investigation goes for 4 months I believe so it has no correlation to any event locally," said Hunt.

The sheriff's office wants anyone who has any information to come forward. You can provide tips anonymously through Midlands Crime Stoppers. They're offering a cash reward of up to $1000 for information leading to anyone else who could be involved, meaning there could be more arrests in this ongoing investigation.