[Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct age and residence of Jonathan Waguespack, based on new information released by state authorities.]
(WJW) — A series of sex stings across the state led to 160 arrests last week.
“Operation Buyer’s Remorse” was a state-led, six-day crackdown on human trafficking across Ohio — including Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown — with collaboration between nearly 100 law enforcement agencies.
“Law enforcement across Ohio teamed up in a concerted effort to stem the demand that fuels human trafficking,” Attorney General Dave Yost is quoted in a news release. “The success of this operation is measured not only by the number of arrests but also by the resources offered to survivors of human trafficking and the intelligence gathered that will propel long-term investigations forward.”
Authorities identified more than 100 human trafficking survivors, who were directed to health and social services.
They also arrested 149 alleged “johns,” who they say sought to buy sex and are now charged with engaging in prostitution. The charge ranges in severity from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, under Ohio Revised Code.
Two other suspects arrested last week allegedly sought sex from minors. Another six were arrested for allegedly promoting prostitution. Authorities made other arrests for illegal drugs or firearms or for outstanding warrants, according to the release.
“Those arrested come from all backgrounds, including an EMT, nurses, educators, retirees, former law enforcement officers, self-employed individuals, delivery drivers and others. The youngest john arrested was 17 and the oldest was 84,” reads the release.
The arrests included at least 27 people from Northeast Ohio, as well as at least 20 people from another state or outside the U.S. The local suspects include:
- Aaron Ashley, 32, of Cleveland Heights
- Michael Bender, 41, of Warren
- Patsy Bova, 59, of Diamond
- Brae Chamberlin, 28, of Oberlin
- Michael Chima, 43, of Canton
- Christopher Coiner, 19, of Euclid
- Brandon Collins, 36, of Bedford Heights
- Joshua Colvin, 47, of Burton
- Thomas Connelly, 52, of Parma
- Deshawn Evans, 26, of Austintown
- Ralph Fabrizio, 48, of Hubbard
- Shane Freeman, 33, of Warrensville Heights
- Mark Hagenbaugh, 60, of Akron
- Myron Kawkabany, 42, of Lyndhurst
- Nicholas McMillan, 25, of Sheffield Lake
- Joshua Mull, 38, of Amherst
- Jordan Perez, 35, of Masury
- Michael Schnurr, 32, of Brook Park
- Kyle Shahan, 33, of Dorset
- Kevin Smith, 62, of Warren
- Brian Spayde, 42, of Youngstown
- Travis Swidzinski, 37, of Youngstown
- Robert Taylor, 59, of Cleveland
- Jonathan Waguespack, 21, of Poland
- Rontrell White, 34, of Youngstown
- Myron Yoder, 54, of Canal Fulton
- John Zitzner, 68, of Cleveland
A human trafficking task force coordinated by sheriff’s offices in Huron, Erie, Ashland and Lorain counties busted an illicit massage parlor in Lorain County, according to the release. Authorities seized more than $49,000 “and furthered an active investigation into criminal activity and potential human trafficking,” reads the release.
In Summit County, the regional human trafficking task force served four search warrants on alleged illicit massage parlors, identifying seven survivors of human trafficking.
The Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force arrested Jordan Perez, 35, of Masury, who they say brought a firearm with him, but no money. He reportedly told police he intended to pay using a web app.
“Joint operations like this highlight the power of collective efforts to identify victims and push needed resources to them, locate offenders and raise awareness in the community of this heinous crime,” Cuyahoga County Sheriff Harold Pretel is quoted in the release. “Although we bring to light the success of this operation, let us not forget the difficult work that begins for those identified victims and the organizations that support them through their healing process.”