Human Traffickers and Alien Smugglers Arrested in Florida
In Sarasota, Florida, two residents were sentenced on June 17 following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE, the FBI and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office MCSO.
Erisbel Artiles, 31, a Cuban national residing in Hialeah, Fla., was sentenced to 121 months in federal prison for hostage taking. And his mother, Lazara Z. Moreira-Penin, 54, also a Cuban national residing in Hialeah, was sentenced to one year in prison for conspiracy to transport illegal aliens.
After a Guatemalan citizen illegally present in the United States contacted MCSO deputies and reported that an alien smuggler was holding his 30-year-old brother for more unpaid smuggling fee, MCSO requested the assistance of ICE Sarasota office.
As a result of the cooperation and ability to work together that existed in Florida between state, local and federal law enforcement, they recovered the hostage victim without incident.
Eventually the victim was delivered at a gas station where ICE agents along with MCSO officers arrested Moreira-Penin. Artiles was arrested in Miami at a later date.
The investigation was conducted by ICE’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations in Sarasota, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Miami Violent Crimes Task Force and the Southwest Florida Violent Crimes Task Force consisting of the Bradenton Police Department, the Sarasota Police Department, and the Sarasota FBI Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald L. Hansen.