HOUSTON—Dozens of suspected illegal immigrants were taken into custody along with their alleged smugglers at a home in southeast Houston early Thursday.
Houston police were called to a home in the 8500 block of Glenaire on a possible kidnapping around 2 a.m. HPD said officers were tipped off to the home after a concerned family member of one of the immigrants called HPD to say coyotes had kidnapped his brother. The family said they negotiated a payment with the coyotes, who then upped the price on the family so they couldn’t afford it. The family then called HPD.
Officers went to investigate and found 30 people inside the house.
“Victims were found throughout the house, some even in cupboards, bathrooms and showers,” said Detective C. Hassig. “They were everywhere.”
Twenty-five people were chained, handcuffed then taken to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility for questioning. Those people include men, two teens and women, one of them pregnant.
Officers arrested three suspected smugglers. All face kidnapping charges.
Officers said when they raided the place, the coyotes pretended to be part of the immigrant group. One of the smugglers was found hiding in a shower and refused to come out, according to police. An HPD dog was sent in, which then bit the suspect. Police said another coyote hit an officer and will be charged with assault.
Some long-time neighbors told KHOU 11 News this was the first sign of trouble they’ve seen at the house.
“I pass by there every day, but never see anybody,” said Reyes Alvarez, a neighbor. “It’s pretty quiet over here,” said a neighbor wanting only to be identified as John. “People keep to themselves and speak cordially. It’s crazy this happened.”
One of them is also charged with assault for fighting with a police officer.
“That’s terrible,” Alvarez said.
In Spanish, some of those detained told KHOU 11 News that they were beaten and robbed. They are now being held by immigration agents.
Officials said those taken into custody are from Mexico, Guatemala, and other South American countries.