It happened in a small part of the world with a big heart. Lima, Ohio isn’t what many would consider a “bustling metropolis”, but what it lacks in towering skyscrapers, it makes up for with the main focus of our story, people.
Not long ago, Lima, and indeed some other towns not so very far away, were party to a terrible series of ongoing crimes involving the exploitation of young, vulnerable girls…
It wasn’t something that people even noticed at first. In fact, it took the better part of two years before the Lima police began to notice that girls as young as 14 and 16 kept showing up in random cases of prostitution. It wasn’t until they dug a little deeper that they realized not only were the cases related, but they were also going on in nearby Indiana.
In December of 2015, when the Lima Police Department began investigating allegations of human trafficking. They received a tip that a number of impressionable runaways had been forced into prostitution. They interviewed the victim and realized, horribly, that they may have been inadvertently allowing this practice to continue under their noses for years…
Bring in the Feds
The officer in question, the fellow that conducted the interview, decided that it was time to call in the Feds. If there was indeed some sort of human trafficking ring being run out of Lima and working across state lines, the only proper way to quash it was to elicit the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In cases like this, the FBI is brought in for their enhanced investigative resources and once solved, much stronger penalties for the guilty parties. The case was referred to Special Agent Devon Lossick, who headed up a task force and worked out of the FBI Cleveland Division’s Toledo Resident Agency. He traveled to Lima and set to work right away…
Agent Lossick and his task force began by gathering up a few of the victims and questioning them about the circumstances that led to their situation. What they learned was that members of the organization, and there were more than a couple, would go after young girls, many of whom were runaways. These girls had no hope of surviving without help and needed someone to trust. It was the perfect way to lure them in.
The trusting girls, most of whom now had no one left to go back to, were promised food, shelter, and money. Estranged from their families and grateful for any help they could get, they willingly allowed themselves to be led into performing sexual favors for their “saviors”. Eventually, that led to things like explicit pictures…
The photos they took of the underage girls would eventually be posted to the adult entertainment sections of a classified ads website like Craigslist. After that, interested customers would reach out to the glorified pimps and would meet up with the girls in rented hotel rooms or apartments in Lima or Fort Wayne, Indiana to “conduct a transaction”.
None for the Victims
“Especially in these kinds of cases, the victims always come first.” Agent Lossick had been involved in cases like this one before and he believed that in such cases, it was the victims who came first. Of course, the human traffickers didn’t see it that way. Proceeds from these illicit transactions would go straight into their own pockets, leaving just enough for the girls to live on, but not enough that they could be free…
The FBI gathered motel records and receipts, to uncover who might be behind the whole thing. They were also allowed to begin physical and electronic surveillance of the people whom they believed were in charge of the girls. Using these time-tested methods, they uncovered some real leads.
More Than You’d Imagine
Eventually, the special task force tracked down the mastermind behind the whole Lima operation. Ohio native and longtime Lima resident, Lorenzo Young, was the leader of the group. He wasn’t alone, however. Young was assisted in this criminal enterprise by longtime friend Aundre Davis, as well as by his girlfriend, mother, and three other friends…
Young had been at it long enough to know when something was up. He suspected the FBI might be involved and told his mother and his accomplices to delete any text messages or emails in their possession in regards to ”the business”. As a safeguard, he had a few of his underlings post threatening messages on social media to further discourage the victims from talking to the authorities.
Unfortunately for Lorenzo Young, his realization had come too late. All of his cleared history and silenced girls were for naught. By the following June, the task force had gathered enough information and evidence on Young and his six accomplices to bring them in. All seven of them were charged by a federal jury in Ohio…
Five were indicted on human trafficking charges, while the remaining two were brought up on charges related to obstructing the investigation. Five of them plead guilty to the charges and were sentenced. As for Lorenzo Young and Aundre Davis, they decided to try their luck at trial. This folly led to convictions for the both of them. Young was sentenced to life in prison and Davis got 30 years behind bars.
Agent Lossick has stated that he firmly believes the successful outcome of this case was not only the work of the FBI but a result of the strong, collaborative relationships between the FBI and local law enforcement agencies. He specifically mentioned the efforts of the Lima Police Department. Of course, there was still much work to do even after the criminals were charged…
More Work to Do
The case was eventually handed over to the Toledo Child Exploitation Task Force, which continues to aid the victims of such atrocities in getting their lives back on track. The people in this task force support the victims and provide them with emergency support, crisis intervention help, social services referrals, and mental and physical healthcare.
More Than Them
The criminal enterprise brought to justice in this case wasn’t the only one that the FBI ended up helping quash in recent years. In Denver, not many years back, Authorities heard tales of another vile child prostitution ring in suburban Denver which used more than food, shelter and safety to lure in their unsuspecting future call girls…
The people in charge of this particular human trafficking operation would ply teenage girls with crystal meth and force them into a sort of addictive sexual slavery. They preyed upon their innocence and coerced them with addictive substances. Two of the girls in question were only 16 years old, the third, only 13.
Base of Operations
All three girls had run away from home and stopped going to school. They had found their way to their would-be captors over the internet and once they had been given their first taste of meth, were forced to have sex with members of the ring. After that, it was only a matter of time before they began turning the girls out of an apartment complex…
Authorities were ultimately tipped off to the operation when one of the victims reported that a man named Daniel had sexually assaulted her. This man turned out to be 42 year-old Daniel Onodera and he was the ringleader of the whole operation. He was arrested and charged with trafficking of a child, pimping of a child, sex assault of a child, keeping a place of prostitution, and several other charges.
More Out There
He also had five other people helping him, each of whom faces the same sort of charges. It was only after they began rounding up Onodera’s associates that they found a seventh alleged member of the ring, Mark Wayne Turturice, was involved as well. Currently, all seven criminals are being tried and will likely see a significant amount of jail time.