TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Highway Patrol uncovered a smuggling operation Thursday after pulling over a Nissan Armada in Sumter County.
The FHP said troopers stopped the vehicle on I-75 because of the its illegal tints, but when the driver — Esvil Miguel Soto Perez, 23, of Phoenix, Arizona — was pulled over, he only gave troopers a Mexican ID card, not a driver’s license.
Troopers said there were four other Hispanics in the SUV at the time.
While they detained Soto Perez for not having a driver’s license, they discovered that he had large sums of U.S. cash and receipts of money transfers to Mexico on his person, according to the FHP.
Further investigation by the FHP found that none of the passengers knew each other, and upon being handed over to U.S. Border Patrol, it was confirmed that the passengers paid Soto Perez to smuggle them to the Tampa area after entering the U.S. illegally.
Meanwhile, Soto Perez was booked into the Sumter County Jail on four counts of smuggling and one count for having no valid driver’s license.