Gary Garland, 54, and Shannon Garland, 49, both of Anderson, were recently sentenced to 35 years and 26 and a half years respectively for their roles in conspiracies to sex traffic minors and to produce child pornography.
Patrons of the Garland’s sex trafficking operation were also sentenced as follows: Johnny Wells, 58, was sentenced to 13 and a half years; Kianna Daily, 41, was sentenced to five years; Glenn Whitcomb, 69, was sentenced to a year and a half; Michael Skelton, 33, was sentenced to just over a year; and John Towery, 63, and Duwone Allen, 30, were sentenced to five years probation with house arrest.
“This office and its law enforcement partners work daily to protect our country’s most valuable assets, its children. We will seek swift justice for those who exploit our young people,” said U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis. “This case marks an important turning point in the fight against those who seek to exploit children by putting all would be buyers of sex on notice: law enforcement will go after not just the traffickers who force the minor victims into sexual servitude, but also those who patronize and solicit such sexual encounters.”
“The lengthy sentences received by each of these defendants holds them accountable for their heinous crimes and ensures they will be unable to abuse and traffic another child,” said Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for North and South Carolina. “HSI is grateful for the collaborative effort between our office and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and we will continue to jointly and aggressively investigate anyone who seeks to exploit children.”
“I want to thank my detectives for their hard work and commitment to this investigation,” said Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride. “I also want to thank our federal law enforcement partners that helped us put these evildoers away for a long time.”
Evidence presented to the Court showed that the Garlands engaged in a conspiracy to force two minor victims to engage in no less than 300 sexual encounters with themselves and other patrons for the benefit of the Garlands. The Garlands rendered the minors totally dependent on them for survival and provided illicit drugs to the minors to force their participation in the sexual acts.
The Garlands solicited and advertised for the sexual encounters on the internet. Wells, Daily, Whitcomb, Skelton, and Towery responded to these sexual solicitation postings and engaged in criminal sexual acts with one of the minors. The Garlands recruited Allen, a hotel employee, to participate in the sexual exploitation of one of the minors. Gary Garland directed all of the sexual acts and required that the patrons consent to video recordings of the sexual encounters with the minor and themselves. Gary Garland subsequently shared these recordings with his co-defendants.
United States District Judge Donald C. Coggins, Jr. imposed the federal prison sentences, which will be followed by a lifetime term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system. The court also ordered restitution and forfeiture of the Garlands’ home, and the Defendants will have to register as sex offenders after release.
The case was investigated by HSI and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carrie Fisher Sherard and Winston Marosek prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc.