100 people found in house, living in filth

2014-03-20 13:55
People wait outside a house as authorities conduct an investigation. (Cody Duty, AP)

People wait outside a house as authorities conduct an investigation. (Cody Duty, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Houston - A house overflowing with more than 100 people presumed to be in the US illegally was uncovered just outside Houston on Wednesday, a police spokesperson said.

The suspected stash house was found during a search for a 24-year-old woman and her two children, a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, that were reported missing by relatives late on Tuesday after a man failed to meet them as planned at an undisclosed location on the city's north side, said John Cannon, a spokesperson for the Houston police department.

Many of the people in home that authorities said appeared to be part of a human smuggling operation were dressed only in undergarments and they were sitting in in filthy conditions and surrounded by trash bags full of old clothing, Cannon said.

When police opened the door to the home they found "a large, large group of people, some sitting on top of one another, very confined spaces", Cannon said. "They yell out the woman's name to see if she is in there, and she emerges with the two children. They're OK."

The single-family home, in southern Harris County, is about 139 square-metres, Cannon said. At first, officers saw only a mattress on the floor and a refrigerator in an exterior room.

'It was just filth'

It was when they went further into the house that they found the people, 94 men, all in their undergarments and shoeless, 15 women and the woman with her two children lying in filth in several small rooms, all with access to one bathroom and no hot water.

Many of the women said they had been in the house for three or four days, he said. One woman said she had been there for 15 days. All of them said they were hungry, thirsty and tired.

"It was just filth, very squalid-like conditions inside. Trash bags with clothing piled as high as you can see", Cannon said. "They were very surprised at the numbers of people inside. Some were just sitting on top of one another because there was just no room."

Authorities said five men have been arrested.

Houston police have handed the investigation over to US immigration and customs enforcement. ICE spokesperson Greg Palmore said it has been five years since officials uncovered a house in the Houston area with this many people inside. In 2012, a house with 86 people was discovered, he said.

ICE took the people in the home into custody and they will be questioned and fed, Palmore said. The people were primarily from Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador, he said.

Two of the people, a pregnant woman and a man, have been taken to a hospital for unknown treatment, he added. Although Palmore said it was too early to say whether this was part of a human trafficking operation, he said it appeared that way.

Houston sits about seven hours from the Mexican border, making it a popular route for immigrants, Palmore explained.

"Houston is significant for the highway corridors that make up Houston, I-45 and I-10. With those two traffic corridors you can pan out anywhere in the United States", Palmore said. "And it's very easy to assimilate into the communities here."

The home was found after Houston police were tipped off that the woman and children they were looking for may have been taken there. Cannon said police set up surveillance points outside the house early on Wednesday and pulled over a car with two men inside for a routine traffic stop when they saw them leaving the driveway.

Handguns and documents that suggested illegal activity were found in the car, leading police to detain the two men and enter the house, he said.

After the people were removed and a count began, three men attempted to flee on foot, Cannon said. Those men have also been detained and are suspected of illegal activity as well. In addition, police found two co-ops with hundreds of chickens on the property that are part of an investigation into illegal cock-fighting, he said.

Police have not identified the suspects.
- AP
Read more on:    us  |  mexico  |  human rights
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is one of those days where the more positive and optimistic you are the more opportunities you seem to attract....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.