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, Sports

U.S. Olympic Committee ends effort to bring 2024 Games to Boston

olympics

Boston backed out of its effort to host the 2024 Olympics, hours after the mayor said he would not "commit" to a deal if it meant taxpayers would foot the bill for hosting such a large-scale event.

in National

Safety regulators fine Chrysler record $105 million

chrysler

The automaker's agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contains an unprecedented buyback option covering hundreds of thousands of vehicles.

in Sports

Race to succeed Blatter is ‘poker’ game: FIFA executive member

blatter

A number of candidates are expected to vie for the chance to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.

in Sports

New hopes for David Beckham’s Miami soccer dream

davidbeckham

The retired England captain announced his plans to create a new Major League Soccer (MLS) team in the city in February, 2014 but his attempts stalled a few months later.

in National

Gas prices down slightly

gasprices

The national average for both gas and diesel has dropped over the last two weeks.