HOUSTON, Texas — Houston police arrested five people in connection to an alleged human trafficking and sex slavery operation. Police rescued 18 victims who officials say were held for ransom and forced to work or perform sexual acts. At least one of the suspects is a twice-deported criminal alien.
On June 5, Houston Police Department investigators received information about a migrant being held in a Houston stash house, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters on June 28. The information led to the arrest of five individuals and the rescue of 18 — including two women and 16 men.
Acevedo told reporters that investigators traveled to an area where they believed the trafficking victims were being held. During a traffic stop, officers rescued a juvenile victim and detained several suspects, the chief said.
The traffic stop spurred a further joint investigation with the Houston Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations special agents. The investigation led law enforcement officials to a location in northwest Houston, Acevedo explained, where an undercover money exchange led to the arrest of another suspect and the recovery of an additional kidnap victim.
This arrest led to the uncovering of a stash house “where other victims were being held against their will,” the Houston police chief stated. “We were able to rescue 16 additional victims from deplorable conditions.”
Acevedo said that women were being held captive and were sexually assaulted for 25 days. The chief told reporters the 16 men were being held with “little to no clothing” and were forced to work and perform sexual acts.
The investigation led to the arrest of five subjects. Their charges include engaging in organized crime, sexual assault, and aggravated kidnapping, he stated.
In total, police arrested five suspects. Those suspects are identified by police as:
- Fredy Moreno-Gill, 26
- Jose Manuel Aviles-Diaz, 26
- Jose Silvestre, 18
- Morris Gudiel Campos Gomez, 39
- Gabriel Salazar-Bautista, 35
Court records from the U.S. Southern District of Texas reveals that Gabriel Salazar-Bautista is a Mexican national who immigration officers deported in 2009 and 2013. Salazar-Bautista was one of the suspects arrested in the initial traffic stop on June 3. He now faces a federal charge of illegal re-entry after removal in addition to the Texas kidnapping charge.
In addition to the human trafficking victims, police recovered four guns, more than $10,000 cash, and 19 grams of cocaine.