Lake County man facing human trafficking charge, accused of forcing undocumented teen to work

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office arrested Carlos Garcia-Diaz of Leesburg on human trafficking charges.

Deputies said they were contacted on Tuesday by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement after a 17-year-old girl told them she was brought into the country illegally by Garcia-Diaz and forced to pick blueberries to work off a debt.

"The individual that smuggled her over claimed that she owed him approximately $7000 in expenses to get her here,” said Sgt. Jim Vachon from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Vachon said the girl is related to Garcia-Diaz and that he would take her with him to go pick blueberries outside of the county to make money. Vachon said the girl told investigators that if she said she didn’t want to go Garcia-Diaz would hit her.

Garcia-Diaz is in the Lake County Jail on a $25,000 bond and the girl has been turned over to the Department of Children and Family Services. Vachon said the US Department of Homeland Security is also involved in the case and will have to decide if any charges or actions will come from the illegal immigration situation.