ICE: Assault report leads to discovery of stash house at residence just north of downtown

October 23, 2012 8:20:42 PM PDT
The hunt is on for the 34 men who ran off when police officers showed up in this neighborhood.

It all began late Tuesday afternoon with a call for help on Freeman near Morris just north of downtown houston.

According to ICE, it's rare that an estimated 40 people tried to flee at the same time, so consequently, agents have their work cut out for them and locate the ones who are still on teh run tonight.

"It's scary because they could be anywhere in any of these houses," nearby resident Cindy Reyna said.

Stunned residents say they can't believe an estimated 40 illegal immigrants were hiding out in this home.

"I know they come here to try to make better for their lives but at the same time, you never know what's really in their minds," Reyna said.

"We would just walk through here but we didn't have suspicions. It was just empty. We just thought it was regular people in there," nearby resident Crystal Butando said.

According to Houston police, officers initially were responding to an assault in progress call. Police say a women was being assaulted by several men in front of the home. When police arrived, they witnessed roughly 40 people running.

"HPD was called for a disturbance in the neighborhood, and once they came upon this house, they discovered this was a stash house," said Greg Palmore with the Immigrations, Customs and Enforcement Agency.

ICE agents were then called in to start their own investigation into this stash house.

According to Palmore, six suspected illegal immigrants have been detained. All of them are young men.

"The six individuals that we have in custody, we will take them and process them. We will fingerprint those individuals and sit down and interview those individuals and try to determine what has happened here," Palmore said.

Palmore says ICE agents will be working on locating the rest of the people who got away.

"When you suspect that there were 40 individuals there and you only encounter six, we have a problem on our hands so consequently we are trying to seek those individuals out," he said.

ICE agents say they believe those who escaped Tuesday are hiding out in several groups.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call police.

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