Human Smuggling Operation Leads to Dozens of People Rescued at Houston Residence

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
December 4, 2020USshare
Human Smuggling Operation Leads to Dozens of People Rescued at Houston Residence
Authorities are seen investigating a scene in Houston, Texas, on Dec. 7, 2019. (Marie D. De Jesus/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Dozens of people were rescued from a house in Houston, Texas, on Thursday after a man was found running down a street looking for help, authorities say.

Houston Police Department (HPD) officials received a report of a man only wearing underwear while running down the street, “yelling that he had been kidnapped,” according to a police statement posted on Twitter.

The unidentified male told police that about 30 other people were being held hostage at a residence in southwest Houston on 4800 Raven Ridge.

“Officers received a report of a male in his briefs running down the street yelling that he had been kidnapped,” Houston police said in the statement. “The male advised that thirty more people were being held hostage in the house. Officers made entry and rescued approximately 25 males and 1 female.”

The statement added that police are cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security and are treating the investigation as a human smuggling case.

The group of people that were rescued were all taken safely to a nearby school gym by Fort Bend authorities and have been provided with food and clothing, police said.

Three people have been taken into custody and could be “coyotes,”—people hired to smuggle people across the border, police said, local agency Click2Houston reported, though, no charges have been filed yet and it is currently unclear if they are suspects.

Most of the victims are from Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba, and Honduras, officials said. They were reportedly picked up in Brownsville between two days and a week ago.

HPD Commander Jonathon Halliday said the large discovery of people in a single house is rare and “a pretty significant number” for the department to encounter.

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