By: Jeff Butera
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – A Saturday evening traffic stop led to a 21-year-old woman facing possible human smuggling charges, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Kathleen Roberson, 21, of Phenix, Alabama was pulled over by a Hillsborough County deputy near Progress Boulevard and Falkenburg Road for not having tags on her 2003 Kia Sorento.
The deputy arrested Roberson after she failed to provide a valid driver’s license.
There were six other passengers in the car including Jessica Roland, 29, also from Phenix, Alabama. Roland had a small amount of cocaine on her and was placed under arrest, according to Larry McKinnon, spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies identified five other adult passengers as illegal Mexican immigrants and notified the United States Border Patrol. Chuck Prichard, public affairs officer for U.S Customs and Border Protection, said they were investigating this as a case of human smuggling.
He said Florida is a popular destination for the immigrants being smuggled because Florida has many agriculture jobs the immigrants can do.
McKinnon says Roberson was headed to Immokalee, Florida with the immigrants to work.