Home Tampa Press Releases 2009 Human Trafficking - Kidnapping/Extortion Investigation

Human Trafficking - Kidnapping/Extortion Investigation

FBI Tampa September 08, 2009
  • Special Agent Dave Couvertier (813) 253-1033

On Wednesday, September 2, 2009, a 30-year-old man from Guatemala was illegally smuggled into Bradenton, Florida. However, when a family member, who resided in Bradenton, could not pay an unexpected "transportation fee," the man was held captive. The captors demanded payment of the fee from the family before releasing the victim.

The victim's family subsequently contacted law enforcement authorities and reported the matter. Resultantly, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, the Bradenton office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Miami FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, and the FBI Southwest Florida Violent Crimes Task Force participated in a joint investigation.

On Saturday, September 5, 2009, the collective investigative efforts of the above law enforcement agencies concluded in the safe recovery of the victim and the arrest of two individuals, a son and mother team.

The individuals arrested were identified as Erisbel Artiles, age 31, of Miami, Florida and Lazara Moreira Penin, age 53, also of Miami, Florida. Lazara Moreira Penin was taken into custody while in Bradenton and Erisbel Artiles was located and arrested at their residence, 3135 Village Green Drive, Miami, Florida 33175 without incident. These individuals are suspected of being associated with a human trafficking organization.

Lazara Moreira Penin is currently being held at the Manatee County Jail and Erisbel Artiles is incarcerated in Miami.

The Southwest Florida Violent Crimes Task Force consists of the Bradenton Police Department, the Sarasota Police Department, and the Sarasota FBI Office.

No additional information is available at this time.