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14 men arrested in Liberty Township ‘John sting’

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Posted at 1:27 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 13:27:59-05

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Fourteen men were arrested during a single-day operation that authorities say was intended to reduce the demand for human trafficking, targeting individuals seeking to “buy sex via the internet,” according to a news release from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

The operation was conducted on Sunday by Liberty Township police in cooperation with the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, which is under the attorney general’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission.

The arrested men range in age from 26 to 66 and come from Ohio and other states, including North Carolina and Pennsylvania, according to the news release. All 14 men were charged with soliciting, a third-degree misdemeanor, and possessing criminal tools, a first-degree misdemeanor.

“John stings deter those seeking to purchase sex – reducing the demand for human trafficking – and serve as a reminder that these crimes are more prevalent and closer to home than you may think,” Attorney General Dave Yost said. “Hats off to Chief Meloro and the Liberty Township Police Department on their successful operation.”

Other agencies involved in the sting include: Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force, Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, Austintown Police Department, Youngstown Police Department, Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Ohio State Highway Patrol and Ohio Investigative Unit and the Ohio Adult Parole Authority.