Ohio

104 Arrests Made in Central Ohio Human Trafficking Sting

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Columbus Division of Police Interim Chief Thomas Quinlan and Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force Director Sgt. Mark Rapp today announced the culmination of a human trafficking operation.

A partnership of over 30 law enforcement agencies and social service organizations yielded 104 total arrests, including 53 felony charges, in an operation named “Fourth and Goal.”

“You don’t know when a man buys sex whether it’s genuine consent or, rather, the victim is being forced with a baseball bat, a knife or the next hit of heroin,” Yost said. “When you hear a man talking about buying sex, he never says, ‘I’m buying a woman.’ He talks about a whore, a slut, a piece – and that’s because saying what is really happening is too close to the truth for them to handle. People who think and talk like that know in their heart of hearts – it’s slavery.”

“The Division of Police has been, and continues to be, grateful to work with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office on multiple projects including this recent operation, ‘Fourth and Goal,’ Quinlan said. “By fostering partnerships with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and other local organizations, we look forward to future progress as our PACT team addresses issues which affect quality of life throughout this great city.”

“This operation demonstrates the varying dynamics of sex trafficking operating within our community,” Rapp said.  “Street prostitution is only a small part of a much larger complex sex trafficking issue.  This operation was a collaboration of over 30 local, state and federal agencies and offices working to address the many hidden crimes within Ohio.”

A portion of the initiative focused on those seeking to engage in sexual activity with whom they believed to be minor children. This portion of the operation arrested 24 individuals for importuning and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. One individual faces additional charges of attempted rape and one individual faces an additional charge of disseminating matter harmful for juveniles. All charges are felonies.

The arrested individuals are:

  • Timothy Coffey, 52, Columbus
  • Joshua Love, 27, Columbus
  • Jose Montoya, 22, Columbus
  • Christian Bryant, 30, Columbus
  • Michael Sweeney, 39, Columbus
  • Steven Weakley, 20, Grove City
  • Austin Kosier,31, Columbus
  • John Shimizu, 28, Dublin
  • Steven Wilson , 36, Columbus
  • Alex Kim, 22, Dublin
  • Steven Barcus,45, Westerville
  • Rick Birman, 59, Columbus
  • Mark Fitzgerald II, 32 , Portsmouth
  • Scott Fierro, 38, Marysville
  • Daniel Clingman, 38, Pataskala
  • Jonas Wernick, 20, Upper Arlington
  • David Bond, 48, Columbus
  • Neil Bond, 28, Methuen, Mass.
  • James Good, 33, Marysville
  • Brian Basil, 28, Grove City
  • Logan Detty , 21, Chillicothe
  • Cesar Lopez, 22, Columbus
  • Christian Gibson, 26, Groveport
  • Cody Conn, 22, Reynoldsburg

The following individuals were arrested on solicitation charges:

  • Javier Justinia, 39, Hilliard
  • Adrian Guglielmetti, 54, Westerville
  • Miguel Vasquez-Reyes, 20, Independence, La.
  • Matthew Savage, 48, Lewis Center
  • Vincent Rhoden, 40, Lewis Center
  • Kevin Albanese, 50, Powell
  • Marc Coughanour, 36, Clarkesville
  • Jaya Ponaka, 29, Powell
  • Brian Deck, 52, Lewis Center
  • Jesus Gonzalez Avila, unknown
  • Abshir Omar, unknown
  • Gary Jr. Childers, 39, Newark
  • Samuel Chitison, 22, Pickerington
  • Wesley Howard, 48, Pomeroy
  • Jonathan Otavalo, 23, Columbus
  • Dominic Hodge, unknown
  • Corbin Dotson, unknown
  • Lamont Brown, unknown
  • Vyacheslav Panasovich, Galloway
  • Earl Miller, 41, Waverly
  • Gregory Wilson, 62, Iroquis, Can.
  • Luis Alicea, 42, Columbus
  • Mohamed Mohamed, 29, Columbus
  • Michael Wilson, unknown
  • Christopher Davis, 34, Columbus
  • Quayjuan English, 25, Columbus
  • Michael Wilson, 46, Hilliard
  • Casey Barnes, 22, Newark
  • Virgil Caldwell, 53, Lockbourne
  • Joseph Friedman, 61, Canton
  • Emory Legge, 51, Bellefointaine
  • Miguel Tellez-Flores, 32, Columbus
  • Mark Williams, 66, Irwin
  • Darwin Menjivar, 31, Richmond Heights
  • Jarkay Jackson, 23, Cheyenne, Wyo.
  • Mouhmed Sene,28, Columbus

Additionally, 43 women were provided with social services and referred to CATCH Court.

Agencies and social service organizations involved in the operation include: the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, Mahoning County Human Trafficking Task Force, Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, Dublin Police Department, Hilliard Police Department, Austintown Police District, Franklin County CATCH Court, Grove City Police Department, Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office, Powell Police Department, Independence Police Department, Southeast Mental Health Addiction Services, Salvation Army, Columbus Public Health, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Investigative Unit, Cuyahoga Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, Columbus Division of Police, Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, Columbus City Attorney, U.S. Attorney for Southern Ohio, Franklin County ICAC Task Force, Franklin County HOPE Task Force, Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, Fairfield County Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Statements from a number of the agencies and organizations are below:

Cuyahoga County Sheriff David Schilling, Cuyahoga Regional Human Trafficking Director James Mackey:

“These traffickers operate for only one reason, and it is to make money. An effective way to combat human trafficking is to go after the buyers of sex, otherwise known as the “Johns.”

Without the buyers of sex, traffickers will not have an effective avenue to make money. Conducting proactive undercover sting operations is an effective tactic used to bring public awareness to human trafficking and education to the buyers of paid sexual services of the reality of human trafficking.”

Delaware County Prosecutor Melissa Schiffel:

“Human trafficking happens in our backyard every day, and it takes a village of dedicated leaders and law enforcement partners to save these victims. Thank you Attorney General Yost and all of our law enforcement partners for their efforts to combat human trafficking in Delaware County and across the state. Saving these victims and prosecuting these criminals one person at a time is vital in our fight to end human trafficking.”

Dublin Chief of Police Justin Páez:

“The Dublin Police Department was honored to partner with other local and state agencies during this collaborative human trafficking operation.  Our agency remains committed to protecting lives by addressing the multiple facets of human trafficking, while also providing support for all those affected.  This collaborative operation led by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and the Human Trafficking Task Force was another example of bringing justice for and support to the victims of human trafficking.  We will continue to stand with them, as well as our other Central Ohio partners, as we collectively combat the exploitation of human trafficking victims.

Chief Deputy Alex Lape, Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office:

“The Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office is honored to be part of the collaborative enforcement effort combating human trafficking in central Ohio.”

Hilliard Chief of Police Robert Fisher:

“We want to drive this illegal activity out of Hilliard, and it’s individuals who solicit prostitution creating the demand. We’re hopeful this operation will not only serve as a deterrent for human trafficking, but as an education tool of the dangers associated with paying for sexual services. This operation has been an example of the successful partnership between the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and other law enforcement agencies in central Ohio.”

Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin:

“Human trafficking is an evil act that exploits innocent lives, takes advantage of the vulnerable, and endangers entire communities.  As the Sheriff of Franklin County, I’ve witnessed how destructive this form of trafficking is in our society. This successful collaboration of over 30 agencies, led by Attorney General Yost, is a demonstration of the commitment we all share in stopping this modern-day slavery, and bring hope to those who have been its victims.”

Vance Callender, Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge for Michigan and Ohio:

“Critical operations such as this are one of many tools in the arsenal to identify, arrest, and convict child predators. We ask the public to be a first line of defense against predators by educating their children about the threats that exist online.”

Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene:

“We are committed to fighting human trafficking and pursuing those that solicit sex with underage minors. Predators that seek to harm children know no boundaries and the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office is proud to assist in these operations. They’re not going so we’re not going away.”

Powell Chief of Police Stephen Hrytzik:

“The Powell Police Department supports the work of the human trafficking task force and appreciates the efforts of our dedicated law enforcement partners across the state. Our goal is to put an end to human trafficking and help victims recover and rebuild their lives.” 

Anti-Human Trafficking Program Director Michelle Hannan, the Salvation Army:

“The Salvation Army is pleased to partner with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office, Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force and neighboring police departments to provide comprehensive services for survivors of human trafficking who have been identified through law enforcement operations. We value the opportunity to collaborate with law enforcement to offer immediate and long-term services to assist survivors in restoring their lives. We encourage any survivor seeking help to contact the 24-hour hotline at 888-373-7888 at any time to connect with services.”

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