(YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio)— Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene today announced that an undercover operation targeting predators seeking to sexually exploit children has led to the arrests of 16 men.
The suspects were taken into custody over the last three days as part of an investigation by the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, which is part of Attorney General Yost’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) and the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC). This is the second undercover sting operation this year in the Youngstown area, as a March 14 operation netted eight men.
“This trap will be laid time and time again until the message reverberates – don’t buy sex in Ohio,” Yost said. “Task forces are a force multiplier and their success is evident in the number of criminals taken off the street.”
The OOCIC supports law enforcement agencies by coordinating task forces to investigate organized crime that crosses city, township and county borders. Special agents from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation also participated in the task force’s operation.
“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,” Greene said. “If you are someone using the internet to exploit underage children, we want you to know you may be talking to us.”
“We will continue to do everything in our power to identify and apprehend these individuals before they come in contact with real children,” said David Frattare, Commander of the ICAC. “Operations such as these should serve as a reminder that offenders will go to great lengths to exploit popular social media networks and mobile applications to gain access to children for their own sexual gratification.”
All those arrested face felony charges. The following were arrested on charges of importuning, attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and possession of criminal tools:
- 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
All those arrested have been arraigned through Canfield area court. The defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law. A graphic containing booking photographs is available here.
The Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force includes authorities and investigators from the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office; Ohio Attorney General Yost’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation; Austintown Police Department; Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Investigative Unit; Middletown Police Department; Warren City Police Department and Youngstown City Police Department. Additional support was provided by the City of Cortland Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office.