LEESBURG – Lake County deputies arrested a man on Wednesday afternoon in connection with human trafficking after the Office of Refugee Resettlement contacted the Lake County Sheriff’s Office requesting a well-being check on a juvenile in Leesburg.
When deputies arrived at the address, the teen told deputies that she had been smuggled into the United States from Mexico and had been living here illegally for approximately a year.
The victim also told deputies that 28-year-old Carlos Garcia-Diaz was forcing her to work picking blueberries in order to pay off her debt for bringing her into the United States.
Deputies who have been specially trained in human trafficking investigation interviewed Garcia-Diaz. During the interview, he told officials that the victim owed him money for expenses he incurred by bringing her into the country but he was not forcing her to work it off.
Garcia-Diaz was arrested and charged with human trafficking of a child under the age of 18. He was transported to the Lake County Jail where he is currently being held in lieu of a $25,000 bond.
The incident is still currently under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Homeland Security.
The victim was turned over to the Department of Children and Families.