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Houston Police Find 109 People In Suspected 'Stash House'

Police in Houston on Wednesday found more than 100 people being kept by suspected smugglers in a so-called "stash house."

KHOU-TV reports that the conditions inside the house were "awful." The station adds:

"'There is no hot water in the house. There is a toilet that partially works—one bathroom for in excess of 100 people,' said HPD spokesman John Cannon.

"Police said there was human waste all over the house.

"The victims included a 24-year-old pregnant woman and her two children, ages 5 and 7.

"'The children were scared,' said Noland Luke, a neighbor. 'They brought them out, they crying and carrying on. Feel sorry for them.'"

The Houston Chronicle reports that police suspect all of the people found in the house are undocumented immigrants from Central American countries, including Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The paper quotes a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as saying that this raid is "probably the largest in the past five or six years."

KPRC-TV reports that 500 chickens were also found.

Police, the station reports, were alerted to the house by a call from the family of a 24-year-old woman, who said a smuggler "failed to show up at a meeting place where they were supposed to turn over the woman and her two children, ages 5 and 7."

Local police have now turned over the investigation to federal immigration authorities.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.