Multiple individuals have reportedly been indicted in Kissimmee due to kidnapping charges that were linked to a human smuggling operation.

According to investigators in a report by WFTV, it involved the kidnapping of an immigrant from Mexico who was forced into an SUV and was being held at gunpoint.

It was revealed by authorities that the victim was smuggled into the United States back in 2021. Further, he was allegedly being forced to work off the debt by doing to construction work in Florida.

According to court records, the employer, identified as Abasita Engracia-Gonzalez or “Mary,” was taking most of his earnings to pay off the smugglers.

The victim was allegedly headed to Wisconsin to work. It was at this point that he was allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint and then brought back to Florida.

According to an immigration attorney, Gail Seerum, immigrants are often afraid to ask the police for help.

“I’ve heard stories of people working and not getting paid. And then being told, if you report us to the authorities, we’re going to report you to immigration,” Seerum said.

It was added that the victim had started working for a sausage factory in Wisconsin when he headed to Abbotsford Wisconsin.

It was at this point that the victim allegedly got threatening messages for Mary. That included messages threatening him that his family would be killed if he did not settle his debts.

Also, it was added that his mother had received messages as well, being told that she would get her son back but in pieces.

Investigators add that the husband of Mary, Felipe Engracia-Gonzalez and a certain Gerardo Anselmo drove from Kissimmee to Wisconsin. While holding him at gunpoint, the two allegedly threw his mobile phone out of the window and drove him back home.

“So, a lot of times they work, they don’t get paid. Sometimes there are threats, and unfortunately, sometimes immigrants become victims of crime,” Seerum said.

Engracia-Gonzalez now faces felony kidnapping charges filed June 10 in Marathon County Circuit Court.

Cuban migrants
In the year from December 2021 to 2022, border authorities recorded more than 227,000 instances of Cubans illegally entering US territory. Photo by: AFP/Ringo Chiu

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