(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — The Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force is asking the public to help locate two individuals associated with a man who was arrested on human trafficking charges today, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Columbus Division of Police Interim Chief Michael Woods announced.
Thomas Birdsall and four co-conspirators were indicted by a Franklin County grand jury on Feb. 9, 2021, on 27 felony charges that include engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, promoting prostitution, possessing weapons under disability, trafficking in drugs and money laundering.
Birdsall was arrested by the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force today without incident at 40 W. Long St. The arrest is the first step of a long-term human trafficking investigation made public.
“I’m often asked how long a particular investigation will take,” said Yost. “It’s like answering, ‘how long will it take to unwind a ball of string?’ You don’t know until it’s unwound. In this case, the string keeps unwinding — and we’ll keep working till we get to the end of the string.”
Birdsall’s co-conspirators have been identified as Jassen Gray, Arlisa Fowler, Jessica Kirschbaum and Larry Carter. Gray is incarcerated on unrelated drug charges, and Fowler was arrested on Feb. 12, 2021.
Active arrest warrants are out for Kirschbaum and Carter. Kirschbaum is a 28-year-old white woman with brown hair and brown eyes. She stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 120 pounds. Carter is a 65-year-old black man with black hair and brown eyes. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 195 pounds. Anyone with information concerning their whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Columbus Division of Police at 614-645-4545.
“These investigations are complex and require the collaboration of many law enforcement agencies,” said Woods. “The partnerships involved in the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force and excellent teamwork has led to charges being filed on 5 individuals that prey on vulnerable victims and harm our community.”
The Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force was formed under the Attorney General’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission and includes the Columbus Division of Police, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Adult Parole Authority, Powell Police Department, Salvation Army, Southeast Healthcare and Franklin County Hope Task Force.