Massage parlors in Warren and Austintown are among the locations searched as part of a human trafficking investigation in the Valley.

According to Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene, the raids stem from a five-year investigation involving three states including Ohio, involving 3 Valley businesses and 8 residential homes.

Greene also told 21 News that more than $100,000 was found in a safety deposit box at one of the involved businesses. Greene said charges were pending.

"We found hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. This human trafficking organization is really going to spread across about six different states," Sheriff Greene said.

Several unmarked vehicles were parked outside the Sunny Health Spa on West Market Street Monday morning. One of the men entering the spa displayed a badge hanging from his neck.

Greene said this is part of a RICO investigation, according to the sheriff involving alleged human trafficking, money laundering, and tax exemption.

Greene said a total of 9 people - ages 40 to 65 years old - have been transported to a safe location outside of the county, that were removed during their investigation.

Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said it was important to not displace the victims.

"We made sure, it was a deliberate attempt that we just don't displace these women who are victims of human trafficking and put them out on the streets," Mayor Franklin said.

Steve Irwin of the Ohio Attorney General's Organized Crime Investigations Commission tells 21 News that the action is part of an active, ongoing investigation.

Nicknamed “Operation Saving Daylight.” investigators seized hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and financial assets, business records and other evidence in searches that included the Tiger Spa, 420 W. Market St., and Sunny Spa, 2819 W. Market St., both in Warren, as well as the 76 Spa and Tanning, 5325 Seventy-Six Drive, Austintown

A member of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit told 21 News this is a real problem in Ohio.

"Ohio ranks fifth in the country in terms of trafficking and that is just looking at the arrests and prosecuted cases," Susan Laird with the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit said. "When it comes to activity, we rank fourth in the nation."

Mayor Franklin said Monday's raids sent a message.

"We're committed to our process and making sure they can't successfully operate in our community. I think today's series of raids sends that message loud and clear," he said.

 Warrants also were executed in the region at private residences in Leavittsburg, Warren, Austintown, Youngstown and Poland.

Search warrants and court orders were also executed outside Ohio as the investigation spans six states, according to the Attorney General.