Man arrested on I-75 for human trafficking after allegedly smuggling 13 people into the U.S.

Staff report

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Luis Santiago Martinez-Martinez, 45, was arrested yesterday afternoon and charged with seven counts of human smuggling, providing false identification to a law enforcement officer, and driving without a valid license.

A Gainesville Police Department officer working with the 8th Judicial Task Force-Gainesville Domestic Highway Enforcement Team conducted a traffic stop on a GMC Yukon at about 2:00 p.m. yesterday at the 374 mile marker on I-75 for following too closely and for a possible window tint violation. Martinez-Martinez was the driver of the Yukon.

The officer reported that as he approached the Yukon, he could see multiple people hiding in the rear of the vehicle; the vehicle smelled of body odor, there were multiple containers of urine, and no personal items were observed.

Martinez-Martinez reportedly gave the officer a fake Mexican identification card with the name Carlos Romero Garcia and said he had no other identification or passport. He eventually provided his true name, and his identity was confirmed via his photograph in the Border Patrol database.

A Spanish-speaking officer arrived and interviewed the passengers, who reportedly said they paid a criminal organization to smuggle them into the United States from Mexico. They said they signed contracts in Mexico to work in the U.S. to pay off the debt owed from being transported into the country.

Post Miranda, Martinez-Martinez reportedly said that he is part of a human smuggling organization and is paid $200 per person for driving. He reportedly acknowledged that he knew what he was doing is illegal and said the organization wanted him to pay for the Yukon and put it in his own name, but he had not done that yet. He reportedly said this was his first trip and that he had started with 13 people but had dropped off six people in Atlanta; he said he was given gas money for the trip and was supposed to take the money paid by his passengers back to the organization. He reportedly had several bundles of U.S. and Mexican cash.

Martinez-Martinez has no U.S. criminal history. Judge Denise Ferrero set bail at $355,500.

A Gainesville Police Department spokesman said that Border Patrol and Homeland Security arrived and took custody of the seven occupants.

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. 

  • Catholic Charities is the largest single entity responsible for illegal immigration. Please take a look at that organization if you’re interested in this issue. We need and benefit from immigration and we should also help real refugees but what has happened in the past 10+ years is nothing but fraud and deceit. This mass migration is not organic. Multinational corporations in concert with the Vatican’s left hand have created and continue to pursue this ongoing effort to destabilize both the originating area and the final destination of the migrants.

      • Correct. Catholic Charities facilitating it, not directing it. Maybe the slur that you toss at me (Rebbe) is in fact who is directing it. I don’t know nor care who controls the Vatican. And not that it matters but I’m Christian, not Jewish…don’t be ignorant….you shouldn’t paint with such a wide brush.
        However, the involvement of CC in illegal immigration is a verifiable fact. The involvement of multinational corps is also easily verifiable.
        No need for you to bring in individual religious differences..I specifically mentioned the Vatican and Catholic Charities, not Catholics. They are institutions, not people.

        • So it’s ok to point out Catholics but not ok to point out Jews? It makes me wonder who’s being scapegoated and who’s actually in charge.

    • The American Red Cross is too. And many Protestant churches, secular NGOs as well. They all have their special edicts and agendas supporting illegal migrants.
      It’s allowed because opposing it makes you a “white supremacist Nazi” these days. But in fact it further damages the non-white Americans AND the families left behind back home alike. Facts and logic are not “racism”.

      • Almost like it’s time to not care if they’ll call you a Nazi and take our country back, no matter how much they cry. Don’t shrink back and say “I’M NOT A NAZI!!!!11!!” When they call you one just say “So what?”.

        • Why would you agree with someone calling you something you aren’t. Why not just explain your point of view and keep moving. I’m not going to agree with someone calling me a racist and it’s not true. That’s crazy.

  • I mean, great job GPD/ ACSO/ FHP and all that, but imagine all the ones they DON’T catch. Carlos has a few too many Modelos behind the wheel and starts to speed or tailgate somebody and gets nabbed, but that’s just a few special idiots. Just imagine how many get through.

  • Thanks again Joke Biden….and all those fools who chose you to lead this country into a third world abyss.

  • WTF?! How’d Gainesville know he was passing thru here and no other I-75 city knew? This looks very fishy 🧐🤔

  • Did CBP immediately process and release them in Gnv?

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