SCIOTO COUNTY, OH (WOWK) – Five men were arrested in Scioto and Lawrence counties in Ohio as part of a statewide sweep to combat human trafficking, authorities say.

According to authorities, as part of the sweep, called “Operation Time’s Up,” the Southern Ohio Organized & Major Crimes Task Force conducted undercover operations in both counties to make arrests and locate victims.

Ohio Attorney General David Yost, Scioto County Sheriff David Thoroughman, Portsmouth Police Chief Debby Brewer, New Boston Police Chief Carl Compton, Scioto County Prosecuting Attorney Shane Tieman, Pike County Sheriff Tracy Evans and Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless announced the effort in a joint press release Monday, Aug. 22.

Authorities say the task force conducted an operation focusing on arresting those attempting to buy sex in the City of Portsmouth on Friday, Aug. 19. On Saturday, Aug. 20, the operation moved to Lawrence County, Ohio where the focus shifted to locating victims.

According to the task force, six victims were found and offered medical and social services from nongovernmental agencies and nonprofits who work alongside law enforcement.

Authorities say on Sunday, Aug. 21, the operation focused on finding and arresting adult offenders who were seeking minors with the intent of engaging in sexual activity.

The task force says those arrested include:

  • David Copas, 60, of West Portsmouth, Ohio – Charged with Soliciting, a 3rd-degree misdemeanor.
  • Robert Harris, 49, of Jackson, Ohio – Charged with Soliciting, a 3rd-degree misdemeanor.
  • Ray Vestal, 55, of Franklin Furnace, Ohio – Charged with Soliciting, a 3rd-degree misdemeanor.
  • Kline Adam Hobstetter, 72, of West Portsmouth, Ohio – Charged with Soliciting, a 3rd-degree misdemeanor.
  • Jonathon Murphy, 25, of Portsmouth, Ohio – Charged with Compelling Prostitution, a 2nd-degree felony.
(Left to Right) David Copas, Robert Harris, Kline Adam Hobstetter, Ray Vestal and Jonathon Murphy (Photos Courtesy: Scioto County Sheriff’s Office)

All five men were scheduled to appear in court this morning, Monday, Aug. 22, 2022. Authorities say Murphy is currently being held in the Scioto County Jail on a $25,000 bond and his case will be forwarded to the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office to present to a grand jury.