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The Villages
Friday, August 5, 2022

Illegal immigrants from Nicaragua found staying at local hotel

A human smuggling suspect has been jailed after he was linked with illegal immigrants from Nicaragua staying at a local hotel.

The Florida Highway Patrol and the U.S. Border Patrol conducted an investigation on Wednesday which ultimately led them to the Budget Inn on State Road 44 where the Nicaraguans have been staying.

Budget Inn in Wildwood
Budget Inn in Wildwood
Pedro Marte Rodriguez
Pedro Marte Rodriguez

Pedro Marte Rodriguez, 49, a native of the Dominican Republic who now lists a Duluth, Ga. address, had been driving a maroon Toyota Sequoia with Georgia license plates on Interstate 75 in Sumter County when he was pulled over for a suspected window tint violation, according to an arrest report from FHP. Three Nicaraguans were traveling in the vehicle with him. Rodriguez said he hires out the men as laborers at a rate of $25 per hour for each of them and then pays each worker $16 to $18 per hour.

A bag containing a woman’s clothing was found in the vehicle. The Nicaraguans admitted they were staying at the Budget Inn and when FHP and U.S. Border Patrol went there, they found the woman to whom the clothing belonged. She answered the door at Room 111. She confirmed she was in the United States illegally and she said she had been in contact with Rodriguez prior to leaving Nicaragua. She showed law enforcement text messages between her and Rodriguez dating back to this past January.

Rodriguez was arrested on multiple charges including human smuggling. He was booked at the Sumter County Detention Center on $25,000 bond.

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