Undercover sting targeting human trafficking predator suspects leads to 8 arrests
LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio –Authorities announced Friday that an undercover operation targeting human trafficking predators led to the arrests of eight men including a suspect who was charged with felony drug possession.
According to a press release from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, suspects were taken into custody Thursday as part of an investigation by the Liberty Police Department and the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, which is part of Attorney General Dave Yost’s Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OCIC).
“There’s no way for men to know whether the sex they’re buying is from a woman in slavery or an allegedly willing participant — or for that matter, an undercover cop,” Attorney General Yost said. “Don’t buy sex in Ohio.”
The following men were arrested on charges of possession of criminal tools and solicitation:
Thomas Biroschak, Jr., 29, Canfield
Patrick Cassidy, 52, Hubbard
Joseph Smith, 39, Niles
Brian Stewart, 37, Kinsman
Francis Cerech, 25, Campbell
Terrance Flanagan, 51, Niles
Louis Stirk, 47, Youngstown
Authorities said Brian Evans III, 47, of Youngstown, was arrested on felony charges of drug possession and charges of possession of criminal tools and solicitation.
The attorney general’s office says this is the second undercover sting operation in less than a year in the Youngstown area.
The task force also arrested eight men on April 18, 2018, in Warren.