FHP: Man arrested after traffic stop reveals 4 nervous, scarred human-trafficking victims in car

·1 min read

A man was arrested Thursday afternoon following a Florida traffic stop, revealing four human trafficking passengers he was transporting, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Mario Antonio Padilla-Aguilar, 24, faces multiple charges of human trafficking, no valid driver license, no vehicle registration and altered temporary tag, said the FHP’s Sgt. Steve Gaskin.

Around noon Thursday, a trooper stopped a 2014 Toyota sedan with an illegal tint south on Interstate 75 near mile marker 313 in Sumter County, Gaskin said.

The trooper received a Honduras ID card as Padilla-Aguilar had no driver’s license. The trooper noticed four women in the vehicle, looking nervous and with scars on their arms, Gaskin said. Having previously worked in Texas, the trooper recognized these as signs of human trafficking, Gaskin said.

The passengers included two men from Guatemala and two women from Mexico, who all had been acquired in Texas and Louisiana, Gaskin said. The men and women had paid for transport to Florida on Oct. 20, and were expected to pay again once they arrived at their destination, Gaskin said.

The passengers were taken to the United States Border Patrol. Padilla-Aguilar was taken to Sumter County Jail.

Jpedersen@orlandosentinel.com