Southern Ohio Organized & Major Crimes Task Force participates in statewide human trafficking operation


Staff report



Johnathon Murphy

Johnathon Murphy


Ray Vestal


Kline Hobstetter


Robert Harris


David Copas


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 announce that the Southern Ohio Organized & Major Crimes Task Force participated in a statewide sweep to combat the demand for human trafficking this past weekend.

Sheriff Thoroughman stated that the statewide sweep was named “Operation Time’s Up”. The Southern Ohio Organized & Major Crimes Task Force conducted undercover operations in both Scioto and Lawrence Counties.

On Friday, August 19th, the task force conducted an operation in the City of Portsmouth focusing on arresting buyers of sex, commonly called johns. Saturday’s operation was conducted in Lawrence County and it focused on locating victims of human trafficking. The task force did locate six victims, which were offered medical and social services from nongovernmental agencies and nonprofits working alongside law enforcement. Sunday’s operation focused on adult offenders in search of minors with the intent to engage in sexual activity.

Arrested was David Copas, age 60, of 255 Raymond Ave. West Portsmouth, Ohio; Robert Harris, age 49, of 1313 Lansing Reed Rd. Jackson, Ohio; Ray Vestal, age 55, of 305 Norwich Ave. Franklin Fce., Ohio; and Kline Adam Hobstetter, age 72, of 22864 State Route 73 West Portsmouth, Ohio. Copas, Harris, Vestal and Hobstetter were all charged with Soliciting, a Misdemeanor of the 3rd degree. Also arrested was Jonathon Murphy, age 25, of 1413 Bonser Run Road Portsmouth, Ohio. Murphy was arrested for Compelling Prostitution, a felony of the 2nd degree. All individuals were scheduled to appear in Portsmouth Municipal Court this morning, Monday, August 22, 2022. Murphy is being held in the Scioto County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

Sheriff Thoroughman would like to thank the Lawrence County Major Drug Task Force, the Ohio Investigative Unit, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol for their assistance in the Lawrence County Operation.

Sheriff Thoroughman advised that the operation has produced information that will lead to additional investigations which could result in other arrests. Murphy’s case will be forwarded to the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office to be presented to the Scioto County Grand Jury.

Johnathon Murphy
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/08/web1_Murphy-Johnathon.jpegJohnathon Murphy

Ray Vestal
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/08/web1_Vestal-Ray.jpegRay Vestal

Kline Hobstetter
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/08/web1_Hobstetter-Kline.jpegKline Hobstetter

Robert Harris
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/08/web1_Harris-Robert.jpegRobert Harris

David Copas
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/08/web1_Copas-David.jpegDavid Copas

Staff report