Several Pennsylvania men among 34 arrested in Ohio human trafficking sting

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Multiple Pennsylvania men were among 34 arrested following a major child sex sting in Ohio, including several from the greater Pittsburgh area.

Among those arrested include Pennsylvania residents Gary Seevers, of Beaver; Andrei Makarov, of Pittsburgh; Mathew Davis, of Beaver Falls; Donald Griffin, of Pennsylvania; Kenneth Smart, of Elwood City; Randy Fennell, of Pennsylvania; and Howard Sweltzer, of Pennsylvania.

The sting, called “Operation Full Court Press,” ran from June 1 to Aug. 1 through the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office and the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, searched for predators seeking to engage in sexual activity with children online and resulted in the 34 arrests.

The men were communicating online and thought they were meeting up with children for sex, but it turns out they were trading messages with agents of the human trafficking task force.

Between June 1 and July 29, 14 arrests were made in Columbiana County, and during a three-day operation conducted between July 30 and Aug. 1, 20 arrests were made in Mahoning County.

“We started looking for people that were basically trolling the internet and looking for underage boys or girls to have sex with,” said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene, speaking with our Youngstown affiliate WFMJ-TV. “They’ll be given an address or a place to meet at, and that’s where the arrest will take place.”

Greene encourages parents to monitor what their children are doing online.