On Thursday, July 25 the Richland County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Impact Team (VCIT), Major Crimes Unit and Special Deputy Unit completed a Human Trafficking investigation. The investigation involved online escort services that were operating and providing sex for hire services in Richland County. The investigative concern was that females addicted to illegal narcotics were being forced into the online escort services, providing sex for hire.

The initial investigation was opened in 2012 and came to a conclusion after VCIT members Deputy Stacy Dittrich and Deputy Amber Smith were assigned to identify suspects and potential victims. The deputies coordinated an undercover operation at the Comfort Inn & Suites located at 855 Comfort Plaza Drive Bellville. The undercover operation was a joint effort with the law enforcement partners from the State of Ohio Attorney General’s Office, BCI&I, Ohio Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives & Firearms ATF and US Department of Homeland Security Investigations ICE/HIS. Bellville Police Department also provided logistical assistance during the operation.

The undercover operation resulted in the arrest of six (6) persons, five (5) female suspects for the criminal charge of Soliciting for Prostitution. During one arrest a male suspect was taken into custody for knowingly transporting the female suspect to conduct a sex for hire activity and taking his and her four children that ranged in ages 1 to 11.

Suspects who were arrested and criminally charged included Concetta T. Hill, 33 year old, black female of Mansfield, Ohio, Soliciting for Prostitution M-3; Salvina Knox, a 28 year old Hispanic female of Columbus, Ohio, Soliciting for Prostitution M-3; Latoya T. Pickens, a 26 year old black female of Columbus, Ohio, Soliciting for Prostitution M-3; Neona C. McDaniel, a 48 year old white female of Massillon, Ohio, Soliciting for Prostitution M-3; Cassandra Coats, a 21 year old white female of Mansfield, Ohio, Soliciting for Prostitution M-3; and Anton M. Marcum, a 34 year old white male of Mansfield, Ohio, Compelling Prostitution.

The investigation was brought about after intelligence information was received that local females addicted to narcotics were being prostituted in Richland County and transported to other states where they performed sex for hire. This type of activity involves the enslavement of the females to perform sex for hire to feed their narcotics addiction.

This allows for a breeding ground for human trafficking to occur. The operation’s objective was to identify the suspects and victims in this crime and attempt to intercede before the females become victims of violent crimes. Additional criminal intelligence was obtained during the investigation and arrests and will be followed-up on by law enforcement.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Comfort Inn & Suites of Bellville, with assisting in providing rooms for conducting the operation and for their mutual concern in combating human trafficking in Richland County.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Office will continue to conduct these types of operations in the future. Criminal statistics and intelligence information will be used to identify suspects and victims, of criminal prostitution activity, within Richland County.

Again, anyone with information about Human Trafficking and related criminal activity occurring in Richland County is asked to call the Major Crimes Hotline (419) 774-5610, or email your crime tip to: www.richlandcountyoh.us/sheriff/crimetip/crimetip.html

Monetary rewards are available for information leading to the arrest and or conviction of those persons involved in the activity of Human Trafficking.

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