A Marion County, Florida couple was arrested and is facing charges that they engaged in human trafficking after they took advantage of women who they allegedly bailed out of jail.
The Central Florida couple face felony charges after allegedly bonding victims out of jail, giving them shelter, and then forcing them to engage in prostitution, according to the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation.
On Wednesday, the multi-agency task force arrested 34-year-old Joselito Martinez Gonzalez and 30-year-old Tanya Wurster for the trafficking of at least three victims throughout Central Florida from 2019 to 2021, according to a news release.
“The agency said Martinez-Gonzalez and Wurster would provide the women a place to stay, usually after bonding them out of jail, before advertising them online to customers. Financial records obtained by the MBI indicate Martinez-Gonzalez and Wurster took all proceeds from the activity and made as much as $300,000,” the Orlando Sentinel reported. “The agency said the victims sometimes have the hair shaved off of their heads or would be tattooed for branding purposes, in addition to being subject to threats of violence, as a way of controlling the victims.”
The couple reportedly had a minor child together who “was often present in the home while the commercial sex dates were occurring,” and Martinez-Gonzalez and Wurster “were constantly looking for new victims,” agents said.
“Martinez-Gonzalez faces three counts of human trafficking, booking records show. He made his first appearance in court Friday, was appointed a public defender and was given a bond total of $45,000, or $15,000 for each count,” according to Click Orlando. “Wurster faces three counts of deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution, booking records show. For both individuals, records indicate an offense date of Oct. 1, 2019 on all relevant charges, as Martinez-Gonzalez is facing an otherwise unrelated charge of violating probation.”
“Florida Department of Corrections records show Martinez-Gonzalez and Wurster spent three years and 18 months in prison, respectively, for conspiracy to commit organized fraud $50,000 or more as part of an unemployment benefit scam,” according to the Orlando Sentinel which also previously reported on the duo’s criminality.
According to its website, “The Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, a multi-agency task force, is empowered to conduct narcotics, vice, and organized crime investigations across jurisdictional boundaries throughout the Ninth Judicial Circuit — Orange and Osceola Counties. The MBI was conceived to fill the need for a cooperative effort to combat criminal activities which were organized, well-financed, and operated freely across jurisdictional lines of the existing law enforcement agencies.”
“The MBI was created in December of 1978 as a specialized group of investigators assigned to concentrate on mid-level narcotics trafficking, organized crime, racketeering, and vice-related offenses such as prostitution, gambling, and illegal adult entertainment activity. In addition to its original mission, today the MBI is also a leader in investigating human trafficking. The MBI partners with advocacy and social service organizations to bring human traffickers to justice and rescue victims,” the MBI website states.
Agents have asked anybody who may have knowledge of potential additional victims to contact the MBI, local law enforcement or if they wish to remain anonymous, call Crimeline at 800-423-8477.
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