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Perrysburg police chief discusses prostitution sting, encourages prevention methods

Mugshots from prostitution and drug sting (Perrysburg Police Department)
Mugshots from prostitution and drug sting (Perrysburg Police Department)
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More than a dozen people were busted during a prostitution sting in Perrysburg Tuesday night and it all happened in less than eight hours.

Perrysburg Police Chief Pat Jones said they haven't done a sting like this in several years, but the number of simultaneous arrests is much higher than ones they've done before.

"We work together collectively," Jones said. "It's a global law enforcement, it's not just a Perrysburg issue or a Toledo issue. It's all of this area so that's why we work together on that."

Three men were charged as well: Brian Orth from Genoa and Kevin Lewis from Fremont, both for solicitation. Thomas Johnson from Findlay was also arrested for possession of cocaine, ecstasy and Percocet.

Jones said these stings are about more than just enforcing the law. They hope to prevent human trafficking.

"With prostitution it is involved, drugs are a lot of times involved with it too, but the big things is, are these women being forced into this? So that's where we need to make sure that we're looking out for our fellow human being and making sure that people are safe."

Multiple agencies including the FBI and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation assisted with the sting that took place at the Econo Lodge in Perrysburg.

Officers posed as both prostitutes and "Johns" looking to buy sex. Right now, a lot of the activity happens online.

"Anymore with technology that has played a big thing into it, we've seen cases where prostitutes are wanting a down payment and they'll use mobile apps to get that down payment to make sure that the down payment is paid before they get there."

Jones said residents can help combat the issue. If they see something suspicious, they should report it to police.

"If you see people getting dropped off at a hotel and then getting picked up later, that's information that can be helpful to us so we want to know these types of things so we can address them when they're happening."

Police also said that more charges could be filed against the people involved with transporting the prostitutes to the hotel but they're still working to determine who else was involved.

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