Over 210 arrested during Ohio’s largest human trafficking sting (video)

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 10:47 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - More than 210 people were recently arrested in Ohio during a statewide human trafficking sting.

Officials said 161 individuals were arrested for attempting to buy sex, while 50 were taken into custody for trying to sell services.

Arrests in Northeast Ohio were made between Sept 24 and Oct. 1, including in Portage, Lorain, and Summit counties, according to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

The attorney general detailed results of the “Ohio Knows” operation during remarks on Monday morning.

“We will not rest until no one in Ohio buys or sells human beings,” Yost said.

Suspects taken into custody during the operation include a firefighter, a city council member, a teacher, and a man who arrived with a 2-year-old child in his vehicle.

Three of the men who were arrested thought they arranged to have sex with minors, Yost said.

“It’s in every county. It’s in every town. This is happening all over Ohio,” Yost described. “Poor neighborhoods, rich neighborhoods, educated, uneducated, Black, white, it doesn’t matter. It happens everywhere.”

In Lorain County, Elyria police said 14 male suspects were arrested for solicitation during the sting.

Arrests in Elyria (Left to right, row 1 first): Herbert Hagwood (45 of Lorain), David Emmot (59...
Arrests in Elyria (Left to right, row 1 first): Herbert Hagwood (45 of Lorain), David Emmot (59 of Elyria), Mark Jessie (64 of Elyria), Jamal Fahie (33 of Cleveland), Kenneth Cain (73 of Elyria), Maurice Donte Woods Bonner (26, of Grafton), Donald Lowther (69 of Castalia), Michael Painter (52 of Avon), Ronald Kucbel (73 of Lorain), Guy Sapienza Jr. (37 of Amherst), Dominick Scarpelli (43 of Amherst), Vicente Watanabe (51 of Elyria), Joel Hill (33 of Wellington), Ronald Friedberg (66 of Highland Heights)(Source: Elyria police)

“The Elyria Police Department recognizes that sexual exploitation has a dangerous impact on our community,” Chief Duane Whitely said. “Therefore, we are committed to preventing and reducing human trafficking.”

Additionally, six potential female human trafficking victims were discovered in Elyria County and offered assistance services.

Officials said it was Ohio’s largest anti-human trafficking operation in the state’s history.

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