Davidson County man, woman charged with human trafficking

Celenia Pauline Gracelynn Bennett, 20, and Ashley Shane Upchurch, 25, both of Thomasville

Celenia Pauline Gracelynn Bennett, 20, and Ashley Shane Upchurch, 25, both of Thomasville

THOMASVILLE, N.C. – Two Davidson County residents have been jailed under bonds totaling millions of dollars on charges of human trafficking.

Celenia Pauline Gracelynn Bennett, 20, and Ashley Shane Upchurch, 25, were arrested after authorities executed a search warrant at the pair’s Thomasville home.

Bennett was charged with one felony count of human trafficking of an adult victim and one felony count of sexual servitude of an adult victim. She was jailed in Davidson County under a $10,000,000 bond.

Upchurch was charged with one felony count of human trafficking of an adult victim and one felony count of sexual servitude of an adult victim. He was jailed in Davidson County under a $5,000,000 bond.

Bennett has a criminal history of fraud related charges which include a conviction for obtaining property by false pretenses stemming from a multistate adoption scam she orchestrated. She was on probation at the time of this arrest, according to authorities.

Bennett and Upchurch are scheduled to appear in a Davidson County courtroom on September 12.

The arrests were a result of a joint investigation that began after information was received by members of the law enforcement community.

Agents from Alcohol Law Enforcement, ICE Homeland Security Investigations and deputies from the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office executed the search warrant.

The public can report suspected instances of human trafficking to ICE Homeland Security Investigations’ tip line at 866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) or by completing its online tip form.