By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Ten men were recently arrested on charges related to human trafficking in North Olmsted, Ohio, as part of a sting operation.
Among them was an illegal immigrant and a middle school teacher.
“Yesterday was a banner day for the task force,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said on May 12. “Their commitment to wiping out the scourge of human trafficking is making a difference in the lives of the victims and having a big impact on the region.”
The Northeast Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force carried out a one-day operation they carried out with the North Olmsted Police Department, Westshore Enforcement Bureau, and the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The ten were identified as those who were providing and/or purchasing commercial sex.
One of the ten was a 35-year-old man, Errol Jackson, who is a registered Tier III sex offender. In Ohio, this means he has been convicted or pleaded guilty to a sex offense that is punishable by more than a year in prison.
Jackson was arrested for promoting prostitution, which is a fourth-degree felony. He is being held in Cuyahoga County jail and is expected to face more charges later.
“The North Olmsted Police Department will not tolerate this type of activity in our city,” Chief of Police Bob Wagner said in a statement.
“We will continue to investigate and prosecute those individuals that come to our city and violate our laws. We greatly appreciate the help from our law enforcement partners and look forward to continuing this relationship in the future.”
The other nine men were arrested and charged with having engaged in prostitution, which is a first-degree misdemeanor.
They are: Ahmed Aljabri, of Cleveland, 41; Sha Chuwan, from Erie, Pennsylvania, 32; Dan Keenan, Jr., of Westlake, 53; William Minor, of Cleveland, 52; Jeffrey Ohl, of La Grange, 53; Erwin Palma-Torres, of Garrettsville, 30; Jacob Safran, from Royal Oak, Michigan, 32; Raymond Schillinger, of Akron, 53; and Carl Whepley Jr., of Perry, 55.
Illegal Immigrant Among Those Arrested
According to Yost’s office, the men include an illegal immigrant, a middle school teacher, and an executive of a non-profit.
The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department led the Northeast Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force.
In a statement, Cuyahoga County Interim Sheriff Joseph S. Greiner said human trafficking is a “heinous crime that violates human rights and destroys lives,” and having a police operation targeting it is “crucial” to combatting the practice.
“Such operations not only help to rescue victims from the clutches of traffickers but also send a strong message to perpetrators that their actions will not be tolerated.”
During the sting operation, officers identified seven potential victims of human trafficking. They were given resources from multiple agencies who helped out the task force, including the Canopy Child Advocacy Center, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and the Harriett Tubman Movement.
“This is a great example of what can be accomplished when federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies work in collaboration to dismantle human trafficking operations,” said Jared Murphey, the deputy special agent in charge of the Detroit office of Homeland Security Investigations.
“This cooperation not only allows us to apprehend the perpetrators but also identify the victims and provide them with services and support.”