News

More than 100 found in human trafficking raid

More than 100 found in human trafficking raid

PEOPLE FOUND: The fence along the international border between Mexico and the United States is seen in Penitas, Texas April 2, 2013 file photo. Photo: Reuters/Eric Thayer

By Andrea Lorenz

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Police found more than 100 foreign nationals from Central America and Mexico being warehoused in a rundown Houston-area residence during a raid on Wednesday into a suspected human smuggling operation.

Five people were arrested on suspicion of running the smuggling ring, while almost all of the group of 93 males and 15 females were also taken into custody on suspicion of entering the country illegally.

Many of the people came from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. There were also five children in the group, one as young as 5 years old, official said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Greg Palmore said this was one of the largest groups of people suspected of entering the country illegally discovered in a raid in several years in the border state of Texas.

“It’s safe to assume it’s an alleged smuggling investigation, but the extent hasn’t been ascertained,” Palmore said.

The group was being held in a 2,200 square-foot (204 square-meter) building with one bathroom, surrounded by land where pigs, geese and chickens were being kept, Palmore said.

Houston police found the group on the compound in south Houston while investigating a complaint of someone being held hostage, police spokesman John Cannon said.

The building’s windows were covered with plywood, and the doors had locks on them that could only be opened from outside, Cannon said.

Many people were being held in trash-filled rooms that were so cramped, it looked like “a sea of people,” Cannon said.

Several hundred chickens were also found on the premises, which police believed were used in illegal cockfighting. The chickens were turned over to the Houston SPCA, he said.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Recent Headlines

in National

Making headlines this week

AP_568873619964

A look back at some of this week's biggest newsmakers and the headlines you may have missed.

in National

How low will gas go?

19-overlay12

AAA predicts gas prices could drop below $2 a gallon by the end of the year.

in Local

Robbery Suspect of Deerfield Farm Stand Identified

police lights

An arrest warrant has been issued for a suspect who possibly robbed the Kolakoski Farm Stand on Routes 5 and 10 Wednesday.

in Local

MGM Looking For Minority and Women Owned Casino Contractors

casino

Today, MGM officials will hold the second of a two-day open house at the company's State Street offices for prospective contractors. Union construction companies which are female or minority-owned are being encouraged to attend.

in Local

Holyoke State Representative Sponsors Bill To Ban Necrophilia

ma statehouse

Holyoke State Representative Aaron Vega has filed a bill to outlaw the practice of necrophilia in the Bay State. There is currently no law banning sex with the dead.