YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Investigators in Ohio arrested nine men in a sex sting operation, including three from Western Pennsylvania.
The undercover operation was aimed at reducing demand for sex trafficking.
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Investigators charged Gary Harmon, 46, of New Castle, Ryan Grossman, 42, of Aliquippa and Joseph Geraci, 61, of Verona after allegedly responding to online ads and exchanging messages with an undercover officer arranging to pay for sex with an adult woman.
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Each of the suspects was arrested on a soliciting charge after showing up for the meetings in Beaver Township, Ohio.
"The demand for the sex trade is a major driving force behind human trafficking, and that is why undercover operations like this are so important," said Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine said. "We want would-be purchasers of sex to remember that they could be arranging to meet with law enforcement."
Agencies in Ohio and in Pennsylvania say if you setting up illegal activity over the Internet, it's always safe to assume person on the other end of the message is law enforcement.
Cox Media Group