Florida sheriff excoriates Congress after human trafficking operation finds illegal aliens using federal flight vouchers

News & Politics

A Florida sheriff says that he found evidence that illegal aliens were using federal flight vouchers in order to aid human trafficking across the U.S. border during a law enforcement operation.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd applauded his deputies for arresting 228 people during a massive, multi-agency operation named “Operation March Sadness 2024.”

Among those arrested in the operation were teachers, coaches, medical professionals, active military service members, and 21 illegal aliens.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, Judd blamed Congress members for their inaction to address the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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“We have a crisis at the border. And because of the crisis at the border, we have people that are victimizing illegal folks, forcing them into the sex trade,” Judd said. “Because we allow these criminals in the country illegally. We all rail about this and nobody pays any attention.”

Judd said one suspect had brought three female illegal aliens to Florida from New York.

“They said when they came into the country illegally, the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) gave them a form, an ID, paperwork, that allows them to fly for free,” Judd said.

“You know how Southwest (Airlines) will let your bags fly free? The federal government will let your illegal immigrants fly free,” he added.

The victims said they were forced to pay back $3,000 to the female human trafficker under threat of violence.

“They tell us that they fly to major metro centers for free, on the federal government, where they set up their appointments for sex all around the country,” he continued.

“Shame on all of them.”

He went on to address Congress directly about its failure to address the migrant crisis.

“They sit up there in their gated communities and in Congress, and they play politics back and forth between the two parties while illegals are victimized. Citizens are victimized. Children are victimized,” he said. “It’s a mess. And it doesn’t have to be. If we can deal with it and catch it on a local level, they can stop it on the federal level. Shame on all of them.”

The sheriff’s office said those people illegally in the country were from Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Cuba.

Judd said that 44 of the suspects arrested were married and 11 said they were receiving assistance from the government.

“The politicians are politicking while the victims are being victimized,” said Judd.

One of the organizations that helped with the operation was Heartland for Children. A spokesperson for the group warned that most human trafficking victims know their abusers well.

“They may be thinking ‘stranger danger,’ but oftentimes these people do befriend them through video games, through class, through sports and they take advantage of that vulnerability and that friendship,” said Kadian Parchment.

Here’s more about the claims from Sheriff Judd:

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