Man faces 4 human trafficking charges after trooper pulls him over in Sumter County

Trooper observed Mario Antonio Padilla-Aguilar, 24, transferring “four nervous passengers”, FHP says

The Sumter County FHP trooper discovered two male and two female passengers in the car. (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – A man was arrested after a Sumter County trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol discovered four human trafficking victims in the suspect’s car Thursday afternoon, officials said.

According to the FHP, 24-year-old Mario Antonio Padilla-Aguilar, of Honduras, is facing multiple charges, including no valid driver’s license, no vehicle registration and four counts of human trafficking.

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A trooper pulled Padilla-Aguilar over when he noticed the driver’s illegally tinted windows as he traveled south on Interstate 4 near mile marker 313 around 12:04 p.m.

Padilla-Aguilar drove a 2014 Toyota sedan with an altered temporary tag from Louisiana, the FHP added.

Upon being pulled over, Padilla-Aguilar offered a Honduras ID card, but no driver’s license.

The trooper, formerly stationed in Texas, “observed four nervous passengers with scaring on their arms” he found consistent with human trafficking, said the FHP’s Sgt. Steve Gaskin.

He determined that the passengers, two males from Guatemala and two females from Mexico, were acquired in Texas and Louisiana respectively, Gaskin continued.

The trooper’s line of questioning revealed the passengers “had paid for transit to Florida on Oct. 20 with additional payment required once they arrived at their destination,” Gaskins wrote.

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


About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.