9 arrested in North Lima in attorney general/sheriff sex sting


YOUNGSTOWN

An undercover operation led by the Ohio Attorney General and Mahoning County Sheriff’s offices resulted in the arrests of nine men, including one accused of arranging a sexual encounter with a person he believed was a juvenile.

Jamie Webb, 31, of Salem, was arrested Thursday on charges of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, importuning, possession of criminal tools and attempted sexual imposition. Webb exchanged text messages with an undercover officer he believed was a 15-year-old girl, the attorney general’s office said.

Police also arrested Sohail Awan, 31, of Youngs-town; Michael Canaday, 53, of East Palestine; Joseph Geraci, 61, of Verona, Pa.; Ryan Grossman, 42, of Aliquippa, Pa.; Gary Harmon, 46, of New Castle, Pa.; Charles Hart, 63, of Cochranton, Pa.; Christopher Jones, 42, of Berlin Center; and Paul McHugh, 32, of Salem, on charges of soliciting.

Hart and Canaday also face charges of possessing criminal tools, and Awan faces charges of possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

“The demand for the sex trade is a major driving force behind human trafficking, and that is why undercover operations like this are so important,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a news release. “We want would-be purchasers of sex to remember that they could be arranging to meet with law enforcement.”

The suspects responded to ads posted online by law enforcement and met undercover officers in North Lima.

Read more about the case in Wednesday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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