The chief of the Indian Land Fire Department in Lancaster County, South Carolina was arrested on Friday in a prostitution sting at a York County motel near the Carowinds amusement park.
Thomas Pickard, 52, is charged with first-offense prostitution. Pickard was placed on unpaid administrative leave Friday morning, after Lancaster County officials learned he had been arrested.
South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division agents, York County Sheriff’s Office deputies and drug agents worked the case. Police are trying to deter human trafficking and sex trafficking in the area.
Police used websites that cater to illegal sex activity as part of the investigation.
All the arrests were made at a motel near the North Carolina state line, close to Exit 90 off Interstate 77.
Details about Pickard's arrest were not made available.
Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called by Pickard's family around 2 a.m. Friday, when Pickard did not return home after work Thursday, said Doug Barfield, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.
Deputies rode around looking for Pickard while other officers checked hospitals and other places that include area detention centers.
The search was called off after Lancaster deputies found Pickard was in the York County jail.
Pickard was one of seven people arrested late Thursday and Friday on prostitution charges.
He was booked into jail around 3:30 a.m Friday. His bond has not yet been set.