A Seffner man was pulled over for hauling a boat with 32 people hiding inside. It’s not unusual to see a truck hauling a boat in the Florida Keys. But this truck was a rental that was being driven very slowly, holding back traffic. That’s why Sgt. Joel Slough initiated a traffic stop on Marathon Key. As he approached the vehicle, he noted that there were four suspected migrants in the cab, three of whom were small children.
As the officer interviewed the driver, he detected a “strong odor of seawater and body odor”. No one was wearing a seat belt. But the story doesn’t end there. This is Florida, after all. When the Sgt. moved to the boat to have a look, he discovered a total of 32 passengers in it.
The occupants are suspected of being smuggled from Cuba to the U.S. Among the dozens of people on board, police found two pregnant women and a 17-year-old minor. 29-year-old Seffner resident Reidel Garcia-Espino told investigators that the group had been out fishing all day, but there was no fishing equipment onboard. Garcia-Espino was charged with child neglect due to the children in the truck not being restrained. The group of migrants was released to the custody of Customs and Border Protection, while the driver was arrested and taken to jail.