Man caught with 6 human trafficking victims at NC traffic stop: Highway Patrol

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Thursday, November 21, 2019
Troopers find 6 human trafficking victims in car
Investigators found human trafficking victims and meth inside Edgar Ortiz's car.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. -- A man believed to have been driving with human trafficking victims in an SUV in western North Carolina has been charged.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol found six people when they stopped 37-year-old Edgar Ortiz-Jarquin in Gaston County on Tuesday afternoon, according to WSOC.

Troopers found methamphetamine along with women and men between the ages of 18 to 30 who they suspect are human trafficking victims. It's not known what the victims were being used for.

How to identify a human trafficking victim

Warning signs of human trafficking

Troopers said they were looking for drugs when they pulled over Ortiz-Jarquin, whose gray Toyota Sequoia had an Arizona license plate. Ortiz-Jarquin ran off and authorities found him two hours later walking along the side of a road.

Trooper Ray Pierce told WSOC that it's unusual to break up a human trafficking operation on a highway.

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"We don't have this," Pierce said. "We're not specifically out here looking for it, so this is a rare occurrence that we stumble upon it."

Ortiz-Jarquin is charged with three different drug charges and resisting arrest. He is being held at the Cleveland County Jail without bond.