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The Villages
Thursday, May 12, 2022

Human smuggler nabbed in Sumter County claims he was taking illegals on ‘beach vacation’

Erick Daniel Romo Gonzalez
Erick Daniel Romo Gonzalez

A human smuggling suspect nabbed on Interstate 75 in Sumter County attempted to convince law enforcement he was taking four illegals on a “beach vacation.”

Erick Daniel Romo Gonzalez, 27, was driving a white 2007 Cadillac CTS on Thursday morning southbound on I-75 when he was pulled over for suspiciously tinted windows, according to an arrest report from the Florida Highway Patrol. A traffic stop was initiated near Mile Marker 314 at Bushnell.

The Cadillac, which had Texas license plates, had three adult males in the back seat and one in the front passenger seat.

An interpreter was called to the scene after Romo Gonzalez indicated his primary language is Spanish. Romo Gonzalez said they were headed for the beach. The passengers were less specific, but indicated they were “sight seeing.” Receipts from various locations in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama “on successive days” were found in the vehicle.

A human smuggling suspect was arrested Thursday on Interstate 75 in Sumter County
A human smuggling suspect driving a white Cadillac was arrested Thursday on Interstate 75 in Sumter County.

“Additionally, the clothing and personal effects of the occupants in the vehicle were not consistent with a beach vacation,” the report said.

A Border Patrol agent was called to the scene and it was confirmed that Romo Gonzalez previously had been arrested for illegal entry into the United States. He admitted he knew his four passengers were illegally in the United States.

Romo Gonzalez was arrested on four counts of human smuggling. He was booked at the Sumter County Detention Center on $40,000 bond.

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