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Coordinated Crackdown in Mahoning Valley Targets Human Trafficking and Money Laundering Operation


(YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio) — Several massage parlors suspected of operating as illegal fronts for money laundering and human trafficking were raided this morning in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene, Chief Eric Merkel of Warren Police Department and Chief Robert Gavalier of Austintown Police Department announced today.

Multiple search warrants were executed simultaneously by the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force and several law enforcement partners during the one-day operation nicknamed “Operation Saving Daylight.” The task force is led by the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office and organized under the Ohio Attorney General’s Organized Crime Investigation Commission.

Investigators seized hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and financial assets, business records and other evidence. Searches occurred at three business locations:

  • Tiger Spa, 420 W. Market St., Warren
  • Sunny Spa, 2819 W. Market St., Warren
  • 76 Spa and Tanning, 5325 Seventy-Six Drive, Austintown
Warrants also were executed in the region at private residences in Leavittsburg, Warren, Austintown, Youngstown and Poland. Additionally, search warrants and court orders were executed outside Ohio as the investigation spans six states.
The task force’s investigation is ongoing, and no additional details are available. Once the investigation is complete, the case will be referred to the appropriate county prosecutors. 
Operation Saving Daylight
Multiple agencies are involved in the investigation: Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, Austintown Police Department, Warren City Police Department, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio Investigative Unit, Cortland Police Department, East Palestine Police Department, Salem Police Department, Youngstown Police Department, Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office, Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office, Attorney General’s Special Prosecution Section, and the Northeast Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force.

Several additional agencies assisted with the execution of today’s search warrants, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force, Trumbull County Sheriff's Office, TAG Drug Task Force, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio State Medical Board, Howland Police Department, Harriet Tubman Movement and Asian Services in Action.

Steve Irwin: 614-728-5417

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