Agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crimes Against Children Unit raided a house at 832 Mason St., collecting evidence and interviewing two men connected with the residence.
The unit was able to enter the house because it had a search warrant.
The Vindicator’s broadcast partner 21 WFMJ-TV said the raid was tied to a child-pornography investigation and that one of the men, William Brock Sr., was charged with 25 counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor.
Eva Hall, senior special agent with the unit, said this is the first time in the unit’s 18-month history it has carried out an investigation in Trumbull County.
It’s also one of the few times any BCI unit has carried out investigations of its own.
In most instances, BCI, a division of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, provides support to local law-enforcement agencies in their investigations.
Hall said she could not discuss the circumstances that led BCI to investigate the Mason Street residence or what illegal activity BCI believes may have been taking place there.
Attorney General Mike DeWine created the unit to investigate physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and human trafficking. The unit has people who specialize in use of the Internet, she said.
Though it may seem difficult to understand why it is a crime for individuals to download child pornography, Hall said the unit’s experience has been that the behavior of such people tends to escalate to pictures and videos of a worse kind and to victimization of children.
Two Niles police officers, who helped BCI agents carry out the raid, suffered injuries, said Niles Police Chief Robert Hinton.
One officer was cut on the arm by glass, and another was bit by a dog on the property, he said.