(YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene today announced that a Youngstown man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for human trafficking charges.
The sentence culminates an investigation into Ronald Hellman Jr. and several criminal associates within a human trafficking ring. Hellman trafficked young women, including juveniles, by preying on their addictions so he could control their actions. He specifically targeted women upon their exit from rehabilitation.
“Great work by Sheriff Greene and the members of this task force to secure this sentence,” Yost said. “This task force is tenaciously telling human traffickers who dare to set foot in the Mahoning Valley – don’t buy sex in Ohio!”
The case was investigated by the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, part of Yost’s Organized Crime Investigations Commission, and supervised by the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office.
“This outcome highlights the diligent work of our task force agents, who thoroughly investigate criminal patterns to break up human trafficking rings like this one,” Greene said. “We are committed to ending human trafficking, and these operations put us closer to making that goal a reality.”
Hellman pleaded guilty in the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas to three counts of trafficking in persons (F1), four counts of promoting prostitution (F4) and two counts of sexual battery (F3). He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and will be required to register as a sex offender upon release.
The Mahoning County Human Trafficking Task Force includes authorities and investigators from the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, Yost’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Austintown Police Department, Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Investigative Unit, Middletown Police Department, Warren Police Department and Youngstown Police Department.