8 men from across Valley arrested in human-trafficking sting


Township police Chief Toby Meloro said a human-trafficking sting is one of several proactive measures he wants to take at hotels in the township.

Meloro said that was one reason he was assisted Thursday by the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, in a sting operation at one of the township’s hotels.

“We noticed some problems in some of our hotels, so we wanted to be more proactive,” Meloro said.

Eight people were lured there by officers who entered internet chat rooms posing as underage girls and setting up meetings with the men. When they showed up, they were arrested.

Charged with possession of criminal tools and solicitation were: Brian Evans III, 47, of Youngstown; Thomas Biroschak Jr., 29, of Canfield; Patrick Cassidy, 52, Hubbard; Joseph Smith, 39, of Niles; Brian Stewart, 37, of Kinsman; Francis Cerech, 25, of Campbell; Terrance Flanagan, 51, of Niles; and Louis Stirk, 47, of Youngstown.

Read more about the matter in Saturday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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