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New Task Force Formed to Fight Human Trafficking in Mahoning Valley

9/9/2016

(YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio)— Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene announced today the formation of a new Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) task force that will work to combat human trafficking in the Mahoning Valley.

The Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force is operating under the direction of Major Jeff Allen of the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office and includes representatives from the Austintown Police Department, Liberty Township Police Department, Mahoning County Prosecutor's Office, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, and Mahoning County Children's Services.

"Human trafficking is a horrific crime, and the goal of this task force is to expose the traffickers who are at work in the Mahoning Valley and bring their victims to safety," said Attorney General DeWine.  "We also hope this task force will serve as a deterrent to those fueling the demand for the sex trade as the task force works to identify the so-called 'johns' who look to purchase sex."

Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force Solicitation ArrestsThis week, members of the task force arrested five suspected "johns" during a solicitation sting in Mahoning County.  The following five suspects, who were all charged with a misdemeanor count of solicitation, were arrested Wednesday after allegedly soliciting an undercover officer for sex after responding to an advertisement posted online.

  • Michael Infante, 34, Lordstown
  • Pedro Sanchez, 22, Boardman
  • Jerry Teter, 58, Vienna
  • Eric Totten, 33, Brookfield
  • David Williams, 44, Youngstown

"There is an important need for this task force because human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises right now," said Major Allen. "I am pleased with how many area agencies have committed manpower to such an important initiative."

The task force currently has a number of additional ongoing investigations.

The Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force also assisted in this week's sting operation. Established in 1986, the OOCIC assists local law enforcement agencies in combating organized crime and corrupt activities.  The commission is composed of members of the law enforcement community and is chaired by the Ohio Attorney General.

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Media Contacts:

Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840 Jill Del Greco: 614-466-3840

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