A Monroe County Sheriff’s officer pulled a truck over for driving too slow in Marathon, Florida only to be surprised to find 32 migrants suspected of traveling to the U.S. from Cuba hiding in the boat being pulled by the truck, officials announced on Monday.
Sgt. Joel Slough conducted a routine traffic stop of a rental truck hauling a large boat when he found four suspected migrants in the truck, including three young children, according to the sheriff’s department. Law enforcement officials found two pregnant women and a 17-year-old as well as dozens of other migrants hiding in the boat.
Slough “noted the children in the truck, the lack of child safety seats as well as the overwhelming smell of saltwater and body odor,” according to the department.
Reidel Garcia-Espino, 29, of Seffner, Florida, was charged with child neglect as none of the children in the vehicle were restrained, according to the sheriff’s department. Garcia-Espino told the officer that the group had been out fishing, however, law enforcement officials did not find any fishing equipment.
The migrants were transferred to Customs and Border Protection custody and Garcia-Espino was taken to jail, according to the sheriff’s office.