More Than 100 People Found Crammed Into Houston House - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

More Than 100 People Found Crammed Into Houston House

Posted: Updated:

HOUSTON (AP) — A house overflowing with more than 100 people presumed to be in the U.S. illegally was uncovered just outside Houston on Wednesday, a police spokesman 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 Tuesday after a man failed to meet them as planned at an undisclosed location on the city's north side, said John Cannon, a spokesman 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 1,500-square-feet, Cannon said. At first, officers saw only a mattress on the floor and a refrigerator in an exterior room. 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, Cannon 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 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE spokesman 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 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 coops 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.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Vehicle goes over embankment at High Drive & 33rd, one person dead

    Vehicle goes over embankment at High Drive & 33rd, one person dead

    Monday, October 22 2018 9:19 PM EDT2018-10-23 01:19:10 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police say one person has died after driving over the embankment near High Drive and 33rd.  The victim hasn't been identified.  Crews will be working in the area for the foreseeable future so avoid the area if you can.  The cause of the crash is under investigation. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police say one person has died after driving over the embankment near High Drive and 33rd.  The victim hasn't been identified.  Crews will be working in the area for the foreseeable future so avoid the area if you can.  The cause of the crash is under investigation. 

    >>
  • One man dead, another arrested after shooting near Post Falls

    One man dead, another arrested after shooting near Post Falls

    Sunday, October 21 2018 10:57 AM EDT2018-10-21 14:57:39 GMT

    POST FALLS, Idaho - Kootenai County Deputies arrested a man for involuntary manslaughter after they say he shot and killed another man Saturday evening near Post Falls. Deputies responded to reports of a shooting on Gallatin Way near Post Falls just before 7 pm. Deputies and medical personnel arrived and found a man, identified as Tyler S. Liles, with a single gunshot wound.

    >>

    POST FALLS, Idaho - Kootenai County Deputies arrested a man for involuntary manslaughter after they say he shot and killed another man Saturday evening near Post Falls. Deputies responded to reports of a shooting on Gallatin Way near Post Falls just before 7 pm. Deputies and medical personnel arrived and found a man, identified as Tyler S. Liles, with a single gunshot wound.

    >>
  • PHOTOS: Family treasures stolen from Spokane family

    PHOTOS: Family treasures stolen from Spokane family

    Monday, October 22 2018 8:33 AM EDT2018-10-22 12:33:01 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies continue to investigate a break-in that happened Tuesday morning at approximately 8:08 AM. The victims say precious family treasures were stolen. "I stayed home for a few days after it happened," said Mandie Snyder.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies continue to investigate a break-in that happened Tuesday morning at approximately 8:08 AM. The victims say precious family treasures were stolen. "I stayed home for a few days after it happened," said Mandie Snyder. "I wanted to stay here. I wanted to stay here and protect my house." Snyder says their Ring doorbell camera captured a man lurking around their property and then kicking their front door several times.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Supreme Court: Ross can't be questioned in census suit

    Supreme Court: Ross can't be questioned in census suit

    Monday, October 22 2018 8:43 PM EDT2018-10-23 00:43:44 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross does not have to give out-of-court testimony about his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The order Monday comes in response to lawsuits filed by more than a dozen states and big cities, among others, that challenge whether the citizenship question can be legally included.  

    >>

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross does not have to give out-of-court testimony about his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The order Monday comes in response to lawsuits filed by more than a dozen states and big cities, among others, that challenge whether the citizenship question can be legally included.  

    >>
  • Judge upholds Monsanto verdict, cuts award to $78 million

    Judge upholds Monsanto verdict, cuts award to $78 million

    Monday, October 22 2018 8:41 PM EDT2018-10-23 00:41:30 GMT
    Cropped Photo: Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0Cropped Photo: Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A Northern California judge has upheld a jury's verdict finding Monsanto's weed killer caused a groundskeeper's cancer, but she slashed his $289 million award to $78 million. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos ruled Monday A San Francisco jury's August verdict included $250 million in punitive damages, which the judge said was too high.

    >>

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A Northern California judge has upheld a jury's verdict finding Monsanto's weed killer caused a groundskeeper's cancer, but she slashed his $289 million award to $78 million. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos ruled Monday A San Francisco jury's August verdict included $250 million in punitive damages, which the judge said was too high.

    >>
  • Oregon bakery appeals fine for turning away lesbian couple

    Oregon bakery appeals fine for turning away lesbian couple

    Monday, October 22 2018 8:39 PM EDT2018-10-23 00:39:20 GMT

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The owners of a shuttered Oregon bakery fined for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that lawyers for Melissa and Aaron Klein, former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, filed the petition Monday. They're asking the high court to overturn a state order to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they turned away.  

    >>

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The owners of a shuttered Oregon bakery fined for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that lawyers for Melissa and Aaron Klein, former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, filed the petition Monday. They're asking the high court to overturn a state order to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they turned away.  

    >>