FDLE agents arrested Mario Rene Cahuec Cha, 49, of 27767 New York Street, Bonita Springs for illegal smuggling and human trafficking. Lee County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the arrest.
The investigation began April 23 after agents received a tip about the possible human trafficking of an 18-year-old male from Guatemala into Bonita Springs. The victim claims he was brought into the United States and forced to work and give the wages he earned to his captor.
During an interview with investigators, the victim says Cahuec Cha approached him in his Guatemalan hometown promising him a job in a nearby town for a month. The victim agreed to go with Cahuec Cha, but during the drive, was forced into the trunk and told to obey or he and his family would be hurt. Agents say Cahuec Cha smuggled the victim into Mexico and then into Texas using his son’s identification. Once in Florida, the victim was forced to work and then turn over the majority of his salary to Cahuec Cha who beat and threatened him regularly. The victim was also required to pay Cahuec Cha’s rent.
Cahuec Cha was arrested Friday at his home and booked into the Lee County Jail. This case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, 20th Judicial Circuit.