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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Cuban National Pleads Guilty to Labor Trafficking and Alien Smuggling

On October 22, 2018, a Cuban national pled guilty to smuggling three women into the United States and requiring them to pay off an imposed debt through forced labor.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s, Homeland Security Investigations, (ICE-HSI), and Rick Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, (PBSO), made the announcement.

Ivan Madrigal Zamora, 46, of Cuba, who was living in Palm Beach County, plead guilty to two counts of forced labor trafficking, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1589(a), and two counts of encouraging and inducing an alien to reside in the United States, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) & (B)(i).  At sentencing before U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg, on January 11, 2019, the defendant faces a combined statutory maximum sentence of 60 years in prison.

According to court records, including an agreed upon factual proffer, Zamora entered the United States through Mexico, by claiming asylum in May 2016.  He entered with a female, who was a Cuban National, having traveled with her from Cuba beginning in February 2016.  Upon arriving in Florida, Zamora had this woman work in Palm Beach County strip clubs to pay him a smuggling debt of over $10,000.  Zamora smuggled a second female from Cuba to Florida, via Mexico, after providing her with fake identification information.  Like the first victim, Zamora forced the second victim to work in strip clubs to pay him a $26,000 smuggling debt.  Then, in early 2017, Zamora had a third female victim smuggled from Cuba, by wiring money to smugglers throughout Central America.  Upon arriving through the Mexico-Texas border, the third victim was arrested and detained for more than two months.  After posting her bond, Zamora flew the third victim to Florida in July 2017.  Zamora then ordered the woman to work in strip clubs to pay back him a $26,000 smuggling debt.  Within three weeks, the third victim escaped Zamora and called 911.

The court record further indicated that during the course of the alien smuggling and forced labor trafficking, Zamora beat the three women and verbally threatened them and their families.

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigation efforts of ICE-HSI and PBSO in this matter.  She thanked the Palm Beach County Human Trafficking Task Force for their assistance.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Schiller.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

 

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Updated October 24, 2018