Alleged illegal immigrants taken into custody at home

March 23, 2012 3:33:11 PM PDT
Federal authorities have found dozens of reportedly undocumented immigrants in a three bedroom home in southwest Houston on Hiram Clarke near Fuqua.

Police checking out a tip that some people were being held hostage here for ransom got more than they bargained for. Inside the home, 49 immigrants from four countries suspected of being in this country illegally were being stashed, and neighbors had no clue it was going on.

There are just two bathrooms and three bedrooms for 49 people. The 38 adults and 11 juveniles were forced to live in deplorable conditions.

There was food and dishes scattered everywhere, clothes all over the floor. There were several air mattresses and someone even left behind a stun gun. Also, it looks like there was a recent fire in one of the bathrooms.

Neighbor Vito Brown said, "Never noticed anything, real quiet. It looked actually it looked like it was empty."

The alleged illegal immigrants were led out of the house in chains and loaded onto buses that were standing by.

At 8:45am Friday, Houston police were called to the home to investigate a tip that people were being held against their will. When they saw several people run from the home, they called federal immigration agents to assist.

Neighbor Diane Williamson says the owner told her he rented the home to two brothers.

"It's very sad for all those people that were in there," Williamson said. "I wish I would have known. I would have gotten them some help sooner."

All 49 people taken into custody are said to be from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. They are being taken to a detention center and will be interviewed and processed.

There's no word if the captors were among those being detained.


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