CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A Denham Springs couple has been arrested after 25 undocumented immigrants were found in a vehicle they were driving Thursday night, reports Louisiana State Police.
LSP officials say on June 14, a trooper with Troop D reportedly saw the driver of the SUV commit a traffic violation on I-10 E between Sulphur and Westlake. At the same time, another trooper reportedly saw a different SUV also commit a traffic violation. Both vehicles were pulled over. During the traffic stop, 25 undocumented immigrants were found, LSP says, including two unaccompanied juveniles.
The two drivers, Stephanie Harris, 32, and Nicholas Harris, 38, were arrested. They are charged with improper lane usage, human trafficking, and human trafficking of a juvenile. Both were booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center.
Bond was set at $376,000 each. If convicted, they each face up to 35 years in jail.
U.S. Border Patrol took custody of the 25 undocumented immigrants and had the two juveniles place in protective custody.
Officials say these victims were being transported through a human smuggling operation to be forced into debt bondage. LSP equates the action to modern day slavery with unreasonable working conditions.
Anyone with information about labor or sex trafficking should call LSP's Fusion Center hotline at 1-800-434-8007.