License-light violation leads to arrest on commercial-sex warrant

An Indianapolis woman

has been arrested on charges of commercial sex and

human trafficking.

Laura E. Thomas, 22, was stopped at 11:55 p.m. Tuesday by Officer Paul Garnett in the 2400 block of West Jonathan Moore Pike after he noticed the car did not have a license plate light, according to Sgt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

When officers checked Thomas’ drivers’ license,

they learned of a St. Mary’s County, Maryland, warrant alleging that Thomas participated in a prostitution

recruiting scheme involving young girls that has been under investigation since 2012, Harris said.

Police do not believe Thomas was engaged in any

trafficking activity in Columbus, Harris said. Her driver’s license showed an Indianapolis address.

Police said Thomas told them she was just passing through Columbus and

dropping off a friend at a

local hotel.

Officers also found a small amount of marijuana in the ashtray of Thomas’ vehicle and detected the odor of marijuana from inside the vehicle, Harris said.

Thomas is being held in the Bartholomew County Jail

without bond on the Maryland warrant and a possession of marijuana charge. She is awaiting extradition to Maryland, Harris said.

Maryland officials said they would come to Indiana to take custody of Thomas, Harris said. St. Mary’s County, Maryland, is about 30 miles south of Washington, D.C.

Harris said officers routinely stop vehicles with

headlight or tail-light violations or for expired license plates or plates that are

not illuminated.

Author photo
Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.