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FDLE Arrests 15 Floridians For Running Human-Trafficking Ring in Five Counties

| March 7, 2015

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The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, along with the Collier, Charlotte, Hillsborough, Hendry and Lee County Sheriff’s Offices, arrested 15 suspects after an investigation revealed a human trafficking network involving multiple victims operating from Central to South Florida. Two suspects remain at large.  The investigation was led by FDLE’s Fort Myers Regional Operations Center in conjunction with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.


“Today’s arrests demonstrate that human trafficking will not be tolerated in Florida,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “I applaud my Office of Statewide Prosecution and FDLE for shutting down this huge sex trafficking ring. We will aggressively prosecute these defendants and anyone else looking to profit off the enslavement and misery of others.”

The investigation began in 2013 after the Collier County Sheriff’s Office discovered a human trafficking victim during a traffic stop.  Investigators subsequently identified six women who were illegally smuggled into the United States after being promised legal jobs and to be reunited with family.  However, once in the country, the women were forced to work as commercial sex slaves performing sex acts on 25 to 45 men a day, six days a week.  Victims ranged in age from 25 to 35.

“Some of these victims were forced into prostitution when they were just 18 years old,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “I appreciate the hard work of our agents and our law enforcement partners putting these dangerous suspects behind bars and ending the nightmare for these women.”

The human trafficking ring operated in Collier, Lee, Hendry, Polk and Miami-Dade counties.  The victims earned between $190,000 and $320,000 a year for their captors while they received a pittance and were forced to reimburse the suspects for food and rent while being subjected to substandard and restricted living conditions.

“This case has many victims and involves a criminal organization that has committed some of the most heinous crimes relating to a sex trafficking case that we have seen in our area,” Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said. “These arrests should send a strong message that human trafficking will not be tolerated in Collier County and offenders will be arrested and put in jail.”

Agents believe there are additional victims.  Anyone with information is urged to contact FDLE’s Ft. Myers Regional Operations Center at (239) 278-7170.

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute this case. The Southwest Florida Regional Human Trafficking Coalition and the organization Abuse Counseling Treatment also assisted in the investigation.

The suspects were to be booked into the Collier County jail. They are:  

  • VICTOR BLANCO PANTOJA, 37, 2927 Lunar Circle, Lakeland, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; three counts-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity; three counts- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • ANAHI BENGOECHEA, 59, 27566 Dortch Ave., Bonita Springs, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; three counts-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity; three counts- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • DELIA MARADIAGA MAJANO, 39, 1960 Sunshine Blvd. Apt. C, Naples, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; two counts-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity; two counts- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • ILARIO GONZALES, 33, 123 Hancock St., Immokalee, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; three counts-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity; three counts- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • JOSE MERDADO BONILLA, 43, 1960 Sunshine Blvd. Apt. C, Naples, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; two counts-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity; two counts- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • ALBERTO SIERRA, 55,  5236 Summerlin Rd., Fort Myers, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; one count-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity;  one count- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • DALIA TORRES, 54,  484 Thigpen Road, LaBelle, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; one count-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity;  one count- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • ARMANDO OCAMPO HERNANDEZ, 30, 1057 Old South Drive., Lakeland, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; one count-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity;  one count- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • MOISES RODRIGUEZ, 66,  1059 Old South Dr., Lakeland, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; one count-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity;  one count- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • GLADYS MENDOZA TORRES, 65,  10830 SW 147th Court, Miami, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; one count-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity;  one count- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • MARTIN ORTIZ, 33, 1400 Apache Circle, LaBelle, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; two counts-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity; two counts- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • BALDOMERO DELATORRE, 66,  608 New Market Road, Immokalee, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; one count-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity;  one count- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • AURORA DEL ROSARIO BARRIENTOS PIRIR, 31,  123 Hancock St. Immokalee, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; one count-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity;  one count- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • JUAN PABLO PEREZ, 37, 217 N. Second Street, Immokalee, one count-deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • ALVIA VELASCIA, 28, 217 N. Second Street, Immokalee, one count-deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.

Two suspects are still at large:

  • JOSE SENTENO, 43,  26197 Milagro Lane, Bonita Springs, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; one count-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity;  one count- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
  • ALBA GUZMAN, 57, LaBelle, one count-conspiracy to commit human trafficking; one count-human trafficking using coercion for commercial sexual activity;  one count- deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.

 

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9 Responses for “FDLE Arrests 15 Floridians For Running Human-Trafficking Ring in Five Counties”

  1. James says:

    They should bury the SCUM

  2. confidential says:

    Glad no one from Flagler County at least.

  3. m&m says:

    Notice the last names and it should make you oppose the Obama threat to make them all citizens so we can support them..

  4. Nikia says:

    Modern day slavery is alive and thriving. No one really knows the actual numbers but thecoveringhouse.org gives some guesstimates which are heartbreaking.

  5. Bobbyd says:

    What happens to these young women now?

  6. David S. says:

    I hope that all of them get long prison time.

    • steph says:

      Prison time? We need no more of tax payers paying to keep these low life demons alive. The only thing good enough for them is a firing squad! I am tired personally of adding to our prison system. It costs more than my annual salary to house one inmate each year~ it is getting ridiculous.

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