Polk County man arrested for transporting undocumented man from Colorado to Plant City, troopers say

For the second day in a row, Florida troopers arrested a human smuggling suspect during a traffic stop in Hernando County.

On Tuesday, a trooper a white Nissan Pathfinder heading south on Interstate 75 near Brooksville. According to FHP, the driver was traveling at 77 mph in a 70 mph zone, and the rear window tint was non-transparent. A traffic stop was initiated, and a second trooper arrived to assist.

FHP says the trooper who first spotted the vehicle approached the passenger side and tried to speak to the driver, but there was a language barrier. Instead, the driver's 15-year-old son, who was sitting in the second row on the far right, helped to translate. 

Through the conversation, the driver admitted he didn't have a license but provided a Mexican passport, according to a narrative report from FHP. The driver was identified as 29-year-old Vicente Temoxtle-Quiahua, who lives in Mulberry. A three-year-old child was seated in the second row. The front-right passenger was identified as the registered owner of the Nissan.

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Troopers said the children's parents are the driver, Temoxtle-Quiahua, and the mother, who is the registered owner and was in the vehicle. Also, troopers spotted food and drinks inside the vehicle, along with face masks.

In the third row, troopers noticed an adult male concealed by luggage.

"The male was disheveled and appeared out of place. I asked the male if he had any identification, he did not. I asked the juvenile male if he knew the name of the male in the third row, he did not," according to an FHP report. "I asked Mr. Temoxtle-Quiahua who the male in the third row was, he turned around and asked the male for his name. I asked Mr. Temoxtle-Quiahua to step out of the vehicle, he complied."

According to troopers, Temoxtle-Quiahua told them he picked up the man in Greeley, Colorado, and was taking him to Plant City. He said he was in the U.S. illegally and believes the third-row passenger is also in the U.S. illegally.

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A trooper asked the still-unidentified man to exit the Nissan, and he did. Another trooper, who is a native Spanish speaker, spoke with the man during a phone call. The man identified himself as 21-year-old Geronimo De Agua Garcia.

During the phone conversation, De Agua Garcia admitted he was picked up in Colorado and was supposed to be taken to Plant City. He also said he was in the country illegally, troopers said. 

Troopers said they conducted a license plate reader of the Nissan's Florida tag and learned the vehicle was in Georgia earlier in the day. They also found receipts from multiple states between Florida and Colorado. 

Another trooper arrived at the I-75 scene and began interviewing Temoxtle-Quiahua after reading him his Miranda Rights. During the conversation, Temoxtle-Quiahua said his cousin "Raul" asked him to travel to Colorado to transport an undocumented man back to Plant City. The man, now known as De Agua Garcia, was supposed to pay Temoxtle-Quiahua $1,500, plus gas, according to FHP.

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Troopers said, according to Temoxtle-Quiahua, he left Florida on Friday, May 20 with his family and arrived in Greeley, Colorado, by the following day. Troopers said the drive is about 29 hours away. Temoxtle-Quiahua and his family stayed in a hotel on Saturday and Sunday nights.

By Monday, Temoxtle-Quiahua was contacted by De Agua Garcia. The Polk County man traveled to a gas station to pick him up. He told troopers it was his first time meeting De Agua Garcia, according to FHP. 

He was supposed to take De Agua Garcia to Plant City to meet a man named, "Sergio," according to troopers. 

"Mr. De Agua Garcia confirmed Mr. Temoxtle-Quiahua's version of events. Mr. De Agua Garcia advised he was unable to pay the $1,500 plus gas," troopers said in a news release. "Mr. De Agua Garcia advised he worked out a deal with Mr. Temoxtle-Quiahua to work off his debt to him once he arrived in Plant City."

A U.S. Border Patrol agent took custody of De Agua Garcia after confirming he was in the country illegally.. He was previously deported in November 2021. 

Temoxtle-Quiahua was booked into Hernando County Jail on a human smuggling charge and driving without a license.