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Undercover officers arranged meetings with people believed involved in prostitution



Published: Tue, June 24, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.

Operation part of national FBI effort to crack down on human trafficking

By JORDYN GRZELEWSKI

jgrzelewski@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

Twelve people were arrested on prostitution-related charges in a sting operation conducted by township police, the FBI and officers from the Mahoning Valley Violent Crimes Task Force.

The operation was part of an annual nationwide effort by the FBI and local law-enforcement agencies called Operation Cross Country, and marks the first time Youngstown-area police agencies were involved, said Todd Werth, supervisory special agent at the FBI’s Youngstown office.

He said the focus is on human trafficking, particularly that of young girls and boys.

The nationwide sting, which recovered 168 missing children and led to 281 arrests of people on pimping charges, was the eighth sting in a decadelong effort to combat child sex trafficking. Cleveland nearly had the highest number of children recovered with 16, second only to Denver, which had 18.

“We were seeing that prostitutes were soliciting in Boardman, so we did an operation to arrest the ones we could that night,” said Sgt. Michael Hughes of the township police.

The operation took place Thursday at 1051 Tiffany South Blvd. With the cooperation of the hotel, undercover officers arranged meetings with people they believed to be involved in soliciting prostitution.

Charged with soliciting prostitution are: Seaniece McKelvin, 21, of Warren; Cherelle McKelvin, 19, of Warren; Amy Jo Begeot, 28, of Girard; Jessica Maxwell, 33, of Youngstown; Taylor Bracy, 21, of Youngstown; Michelle Harris, 28, of Youngstown; Sade Elliott, 23, of Youngstown; Constance Adams, 24, of New Waterford; Meschelle Alli, 36, of Youngstown; Kiana Powell, 27, of Niles; and Aaliyah Clark, 19, of Youngstown.

The one “john” arrested by police, charged with compelling prostitution and possessing criminal tools, is Matthew Pupio, 29, of Boardman.

Bracy, Alli, Maxwell, Seaniece McKelvin, Cherelle McKelvin and Begeot also are charged with possessing criminal tools.

A criminal tool is any device used to commit a crime, and in this case refers to condoms and the cellphones used to solicit or compel prostitution.

In addition to these charges, Maxwell is charged with possession of drugs, and Powell is charged with promoting prostitution.

“Obviously the individuals involved in these activities are all charged with local offenses,” Werth noted.

The women were contacted based on their posts on a classified advertising website where they used aliases such as “Candyland” and “Serenity” to solicit prostitution. Undercover officers contacted the women via phone numbers provided at that website, and rooms at the hotel were staged with recording devices.

During a phone conversation with an undercover officer, Powell reportedly offered to bring a 16-year-old girl with her for the price of $1,000. Powell brought Clark with her to the hotel, where, according to the report, “Both females went individually into the bathroom and stripped naked. [The undercover] asked Clark how old she was and she replied, ‘17.’”

According to police reports, women were recorded offering various services for up to $300.

Boardman Police Chief Jack Nichols said officers from the Boardman Police Department who participated in the sting did so as part of their involvement in the task force. “We have a bunch of hotels and motels ... so Austintown and Boardman end up with the bulk of it,” Nichols said of the prostitution issue.

A similar operation took place in Austintown in January.

“I think they’ll become a pretty regular thing,” said Nichols.


Comments

1handymandave(474 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Well Jack, if you've got enough manpower and resources to do this 24 and 7 for about a year you might get a pretty good handle on it.

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2grazor50(56 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Drugs deals run rampant, Boardman residents shy away from the city of Youngstown borders after dark, traffic backs up for miles everyday because of all of the construction on the major roads through Boardman, but no police are available to help clear congestion. HOTROD super nationals move to SALEM because Boardman police have better things to do with the $40,000 they spend (vindy article) than babysit the public, now we see why. They lure females into a hotel setting to make misdemeanor arrests in a safe zone of BOARDMAN to help alleviate the so called " VICTIMLESS CRIME". The national sting was focused on under-aged girls, but BOARDMAN area enforcement saw a chance to make headlines that they do something.
Great job guys!

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3JS(647 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

VICTIMLESS? Not a chance! Dig through the Vindy achives and you will find the story of the truck driver who delivered the pork. One of these working girls from the southside lured a semi driver laden with tons of ribs to a dead end street off Market. She was working the 46 and 80 truck stop when she found the sucker. His truck was plundered and the smell of grilling was heavy on the south end of town. Some was recovered but most was consumed. The truck driver lost his job and dignity. The fellow was married and the marriage survived but I'm sure that his wife mentally scarred him for life.

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4ytownsteelman(628 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Yep, this was a big waste of time and resources. Laws against prostitution never made any sense to me. It goes against personal freedom and the ability of adults to engage in consensual activity in which both parties go away happy. If prostitution was legal and regulated govt. would make money, the activity would be safer for all involved and the druggies would be drummed out.

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5grazor50(56 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

JS , by your statement that the truckers wife mentally scarred him, IS IT THAT YOU KNEW HER ? And the problem was not the prostitution, it was robbery, plain and simple. Police patrolling those areas instead of a motel in upscale areas of Boardman may have helped prevent that crime.

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6DACOUNTRYBOY(224 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

PROSTITUTION? Prostitute is a hurtful word. Let's sanitize it and call it pay as you go dating city style.

Now the girl that brought the date home with the pork really did look out for her end of town. I'll bet that she got no condemnation by her neighbors for her line of work.

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7topper11(107 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Dem county boys use sheep HUH a lot cheaper !! Maybe why so many of their things fall off ????

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8JS(647 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

topper11 must have been hangin round with his country cousin from the Sandy Lake-Stoneboro area. The water over there made that boy act funny.

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