Illegal alien arrested on I-75 in Gainesville and charged with human smuggling


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Maruricio D Argueta Cruz, 40, was arrested yesterday afternoon and charged with human smuggling following a traffic stop on I-75 near Gainesville.

A Florida Highway Patrol Trooper pulled over a Toyota Corolla near mile marker 382 on I-75 at about 4:50 p.m. on Wednesday. The trooper originally noted that the car was traveling at 75 mph in a 70 mph zone, then saw two arms come up from the passenger side of the car, holding a cell phone, indicating that the passenger was lying down in the passenger seat and was not wearing a seatbelt. He activated his emergency lights and siren and conducted a traffic stop.

The trooper reported that as the car pulled over, he saw the passenger’s seat pop up and saw the passenger reaching for the seat belt. When the trooper requested a driver’s license, the driver reportedly gave him a Texas ID card. He asked the driver, identified as Argueta Cruz, to step out of the car. The passenger was identified as Yony Alexander Espinoza Leon, 33. Argueta Cruz reportedly said Espinoza Leon was his wife’s cousin, but Argueta Cruz could not or would not provide his name. When the trooper asked where they were traveling to, Argueta Cruz only said they were four hours from their destination.

After backup arrived, a second trooper used Google Translate to communicate with the passenger, who did not speak English. The passenger reported said he was from Honduras and that his family had paid $10,000 to get him across the Texas border; he said he had been in the United States for about a month. He said he did not know the driver and was not related to the driver’s wife.

A trooper contact a Border Patrol Agent, who verified that Espinoza Leon was in the U.S. illegally and that Argueta Cruz is also in the country illegally after a previous deportation.

Post Miranda, Argueta Cruz reportedly admitted three separate times that he was aware Espinoza Leon was in the U.S. illegally and said again that Espinoza Leon was his wife’s cousin. He said he picked up Espinoza Leon yesterday in Houston and drove to Georgia, where they slept for a few hours before continuing south to Florida.

A Gainesville Police Department officer arrived to translate, and Espinoza Leon allowed the officer and a trooper to look through WhatsApp messages on his phone. In the messages, Espinoza Leon described crossing the Rio Grande River near the Bravo River on February 16 and said that it took approximately three days to cross the border into Texas. He said his family made all the arrangements for him to cross the border and get picked up by Argueta Cruz.

Argueta Cruz was charged with one count of human smuggling and transported to the jail. The report does not state what happened to Espinoza Leon, but Florida Highway Patrol previously told Alachua Chronicle that smuggling victims are typically taken to a safe place where they can call their families.

Argueta Cruz has a federal conviction from 1997; Judge Thomas Jaworski ordered him held on $1,000,000 on the charge of smuggling an illegal individual into the state and $1,000 for driving without a valid license.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • Put Cruz on a plane & drop him back in the country he’s from…without a chute. He’s proven he doesn’t have a problem landing in the US, let’s see if he can land safely from 35,000′.

  • “smuggling victims are typically taken to a safe place …”??? Sounds like they are getting what they are paying for. Are there no laws against paying coyotes for illegal cross-border transportation?

  • Is he counting his lucky stars, still? There must be a swarm of volunteer* local lawyer$$ seeking the limelight all the way to SCOTUS.
    *Funded by dark cartel money.

  • This climate change refugee was on his way to Grace Mkt to get that “city ID card” then get signed up for welfare benefits in our sanctuary city….come one, come all, bring your huddled masses…

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