MAHONING COUNTY, Ohio — Sixteen men were arrested this week in a child-exploitation sex sting dubbed Operation Pedo-Cure III, according to the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office.
The arrests were made over a course of three days. Authorities said the people arrested attempted to solicit minor boys and girls to engage in sexual activity.
The operation was conducted by the sheriff’s office, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, Ohio BCI and the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission.
"This trap will be laid time and time again until the message reverberates – don’t buy sex in Ohio," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. "Task forces are a force multiplier and their success is evident in the number of criminals taken off the street."
Authorities said the goal of the operation was to “investigate child exploitation and sexual predator’s activity on the internet.
"We are very pleased with the outcome of the operation. This task force is not going to give up or let up on these types of crimes," said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene. "If you are someone using the internet to exploit underage children, we want you to know you may be talking to us."
The individuals facing charges are as follows:
- William Ragle, 25, Akron
- David Kent, 24, Cranberry Twp., Pa.
- Dennis Dabney II, 47, Salem
- Ronald Woods III, 23, Austintown
- Ommar Castro Diaz, 24, Cleveland
- Steven Sutton, 44, Prospect, Pa.
- Nicholas Sammartino, 20, Youngstown
- Andrew Wirth, 30, Ravenna
- Joel Kurz, 30, Boardman
- Grant Geib, 24, Orville
- Darrell Davis, 60, East Liverpool
- Thomas Yakemovic III, 30, West Middlesex, Pa.
- Timothy Leverknight, 53, Salem
- Brian Underwood, 33, Youngstown
- James McClalin III, 39, Hubbard
- Charles Stumpf, 23, Akron
According to authorities, all of the individuals arrested have been charged with importuning, attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and possession of criminal tools—all felonies.