Authorities find 36 suspected illegal immigrants in southeast Houston home

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by Lisa Chavarria / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on March 27, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 27 at 6:00 PM

HOUSTON—Authorities found 36 suspected illegal immigrants living in a southeast Houston home Tuesday. But by the looks of the place, neighbors said you would never know there was anything unusual going on inside.

"I work nights, so when I come off of work I pass down this street to see if everything is OK, you know, to see if there’s anything out of the ordinary. I guess I ain’t doing my job right, am I," neighbor Ricky Saldivar said.

Immigration officials said there were 30 men, six women and four juveniles --  likely from Guatemala and Honduras -- crammed into the small home in the 7800 block of Brumbley.

"I could probably fit only three or four people in my house, that’s kind of crazy," Saldivar said.

Though they didn’t think anything was odd, some of the neighbors living behind the home said they had noticed some construction going on the backyard.

"Building like a wall or something to block the view from the back. Because from the back of the house you can see the back space of their building right there. We could hear recent construction within the past month or so," Josh Vega said.

HPD arrested one of the immigrants, and the rest were loaded onto buses and taken to an ICE detention facility.

It was still unclear Tuesday afternoonwhether or not the people were being held there against their will.

Investigators believe the home was serving as a "drop house," which is the first stop illegal immigrants make once they get into the country.

Though it’s against the law, the circumstances still drew some sympathy.

"It’s just sad, you know. I know what they do to get here. They pay a lots of money to get here and then, ‘I’m sorry, but you have to go back,’" neighbor Esmeralda Garcia said.

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