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

4 hours ago in Election 2016, National

Fiorina drops out of the presidential race

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina waits to be introduced at a campaign event at Maple Avenue Elementary School Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Goffstown, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The former technology executive announced on Twitter that she is suspending her campaign.

6 hours ago in Election 2016, National

Christie expected to end 2016 White House bid

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie embraces his son Patrick during a primary night rally in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. At left is Christie's older son Andrew and wife Mary Pat at right. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Christie had banked his presidential prospects on a strong finish in New Hampshire, but finished behind most Republican rivals.

6 hours ago in National

Yellen: Fed not likely to reverse course on rates despite risks

U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies at the House Financial Services Committee in Washington February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Chances are slim the Federal Reserve would need to reverse the rate tightening cycle it began in December.

7 hours ago in Local

Paul Mark Considering Berkshire Senate Seat

paul mark

Mark had initially ruled out a run, but now admits he is "thinking about" since 4th Berkshire District Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli has taken himself out of the running.

7 hours ago in Lifestyle, National

Twitter to change homepage to customize tweet displays to individuals

A 3D printed Twitter logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration picture made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The change to the timeline - as the homepage is known - is also designed to appeal to advertisers.