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Human Trafficking Sting Nabs 15

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Fifteen people have been arrested in what Attorney General Pam Bondi is calling the largest human trafficking case in state history.
Joined by officials from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at the capitol Wednesday, Bondi said the sting involved at least six victims. All of the women had been illegally smuggled into the United States from Mexico and Central America.

According to law enforcement, the women were tricked into coming to the U.S. with a promise of being reunited with other family members already here. 

However, upon arrival, they were forced into sex slavery and made to perform sex acts with more than two dozen men per day.

The victims were between the ages of 25 and 35, but some had been forced into prostitution when they were just 18 years old. Law enforcement officers believe there are additional victims.

Bondi said the effort to stop human trafficking never ends.

“We’re here today to once again tell you that we are going to be a zero tolerance state for human trafficking," she said. "We will do everything in our power to catch these monsters and lock them up for as long as possible.”

FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said that in addition to the 15 arrested, two more suspects, Jose Senteno and Alba Guzman, remain at large.

Their last known location was rural Lee and Hendry counties.

“These suspects are part of a loose network of individuals who worked separately to find individual victims," he said. "The captors know each other, and routinely communicated.”

Law enforcement called the 15 arrests just “the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to human trafficking in Florida.

The defendants in the case face a minimum of 60 years in prison, if convicted.