LIMA – Police hit a home run May 7 when officers discovered a girl who was part of a human trafficking operation.
Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin said the huge find is similar to the three women discovered last week in Cleveland after a decade of being held captive.
“That’s a family that won’t have to go through that,” Martin said.
Police said the girl was found in Lima, but they released few details about her. Lima Police Maj. Chip Protsman said it’s an ongoing investigation.
The rescue was part of an enforcement blitz dubbed “Operation Shield.” On May 7 and May 10, all major police agencies in Allen County participated for 12 hours each day.
Police leaders viewed the whole operation as a massive success. And this one didn’t attract the complaints a past operation generated.
Sheriff Sam Crish said drugs and weapons were taken off the street.
“It was very productive, what we did,” Crish said.
Operation Shield targeted driving behavior that leads to crashes and criminal activity. During the effort, officials said, officers conducted 792 traffic stops and arrested eight people for drunken driving, 31 for driving under suspension and 77 for not using a seat belt.
There also were 11 felony arrests and 19 people apprehended on active warrants, including five for felony warrants. State agents also made arrests or issued citations for underage alcohol sales.
More than 5 pounds of marijuana was seized, along with 2 ounces of heroin, 5 grams of Ecstasy, and 1 gram of crack cocaine.
A man in illegal possession of a handgun had it seized. He was not a licensed concealed carrier, said Ohio State Highway Patrol Capt. Gary Allen. Allen also said the blitz likely saved lives by making the roads safer.
“It’s all about contributing to making Ohio a safer place to live, and that’s exactly what we did over those two days,” Allen said.
The blitz wasn’t just about arresting people and issuing tickets. Police encountered 585 people without issuing a ticket or making an arrest. Of that number, 457 warnings were issued. The rest were situations in which motorists needed assistance.
Martin said the warnings were given for minor violations, such as failing to use a turn signal. He also said police confiscated $400 in counterfeit currency.
“It wasn’t that we were targeting it but good that we were able to get it off the street,” Martin said.