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Agents find 30 people living crammed into SE Houston home

Thursday, February 21, 2013
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Nearly 30 people are in custody following an immigration raid in southeast Houston after officers converged on a so-called stash house.

Detectives say they received a tip from a family member of one the two dozen people staying in a house on Glenaire at Glenbrae. When they got inside, they found people crammed into virtually every nook and cranny in the home.

Shackled together, 25 illegal immigrants shuffled toward a waiting bus. They are now in ICE custody and likely on their way back to the countries they came from. Police officers discovered them in a pre-dawn raid at a home in the 8500 block of Glenaire.

"All the cop cars all over the place, man, never seen anything like this in my neighborhood," said John, a neighbor.

Detectives got a tip on the location from the brother of one of the men staying at the house, saying his brother had essentially been kidnapped.

"It looks to be a coyote deal at this point," said Det. Chris Hassig with the Houston Police Department. "Someone was brought across the border, brought to Houston. They had agreed on a sum, but our suspects started to demand more money."

When officers arrived, they say the men holding the illegal immigrants tried to run, but were quickly taken into custody. Three men were arrested, and the 25 people staying in the house detained.

Det. Hassig explained, "The victims were found throughout the house, some even located in cupboards, bathrooms, showers. There were 30 people in a one story house."

Police say some neighbors told them they had grown suspicious about the activities at the house. But John, who says he's lived in the area for more than 20 years, says he had no idea what was going on.

"My neighborhood has changed over the years," he said. "Everyone just pretty much keeps to themselves."

The three men arrested face aggravated kidnapping charges. Officials with ICE-Homeland Security Investigations took 25 people into custody -- 21 males, two females, and two juvenile males. The individuals are suspected of being from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.
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