HOSUTON, Texas – Police from the Houston Police Department (HPD) raided a human smuggling stash house on Thursday evening.
Illegal aliens were allegedly being held for ransom in the house. The raid landed three people in jail and fifteen illegal immigrants in an immigration detention facility.
Neighbors called HPD officers to a home on the city’s east side. Neighbors had reported a disturbance, according to ABC13. After arriving, polie discovered something much more sinister in play.
As officers arrived at the scene, people scattered from the house. They eventually captured fifteen men and women.
Officers learned the men and women were being held for ransom.
“Police were being very tight lipped about the situation,” Montgomery County Police Reporter’s Scott Engle told Breitbart Texas. He said that residents told him they had seen as many as thirty people sitting on curbs earlier.
Witnesses told Engle that police had been there earlier in the day and then came back in force at about 4 p.m. on Thursday.
“It was an immigrant house or something,” witness Jacob Justice told ABC13. “They were gonna do smuggling and stuff and they were gonna use my truck for it, so, I guess they caught them before they could start using it for that kind of stuff.” Justice had reported his truck stolen from his job site earlier in the week.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrived and took the rescued illegal immigrants to a detention facility.
Holding the illegal immigrants for ransom is a common practice by cartel connected human smugglers across Texas. Earlier this year, Breitbart Texas reported that five people had been convicted in Houston of running a stash house where more than one hundred people were being held for ransom. Prison sentences for the human smugglers ranged from eighteen months to three years.
In August, Breitbart Texas’ Ildefonso Ortiz reported about a stash house in the border city of Donna, Texas. A woman in her fifties was found after she escaped from the stash house. She had duct tape on her face. She said she had been kidnapped.
Ortiz also reported that a previously deported illegal alien from Mexico was sentenced to prison for twelve and one-half years for his role in running human smuggling stash houses in Houston. Prosecutors said he was responsible for smuggling thousands of illegal immigrants into the United States. Homero Gonzalez Carranza ran the human smuggling operation from 2007 until he was arrested in 2015.
Illegal immigrants pay human smugglers thousands of dollars to get them across the border and into the United States. At various stops on the way to their destination, they will frequently be held in stash houses where smugglers will contact family members and demand more money before they will move them along to the next step in their journey. Often, the immigrants will be beaten or sexually assaulted while being held in the stash houses.
The illegal immigrants discovered last night came from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico, according to an ICE report obtained by the Montgomery County Police Reporter. The illegal immigrants are being processed, fed and medically screened. Twelve males and three females were captured.
This article has been updated with additional information.
Bob Price serves as senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.