More Than 100 People Found Crammed Into Houston House - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

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.)


  • National NewsMore>>

  • UPDATE: Joan Rivers 'Resting Comfortably' at Mount Sinai in New York

    UPDATE: Joan Rivers 'Resting Comfortably' at Mount Sinai in New York

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 AM EDT2014-08-29 04:45:02 GMT
    NEW YORK (AP) - Comedian Joan Rivers is in a New York City hospital, according to police and hospital officials who say she was rushed there from a doctor's office after going into cardiac arrest.Rivers' daughter later issued a statement about her mother's condition.More >>
    NEW YORK (AP) - Comedian Joan Rivers is in a New York City hospital, according to police and hospital officials who say she was rushed there from a doctor's office after going into cardiac arrest.Rivers' daughter later issued a statement about her mother's condition.
    More >>
  • VA: No proof delays in veteran care caused hospital deaths

    VA: No proof delays in veteran care caused hospital deaths

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 9:11 PM EDT2014-08-27 01:11:37 GMT
    KHQ.COM- The Department of Veterans Affairs says there's no proof that delays in care caused any deaths at the VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz.Revelations that as many as 40 veterans died while awaiting care rocked the agency this past spring, bringing to light scheduling problems and allegations of misconduct at other hospitals as well.NBC News obtained a draft report from the VA's Office of Inspector General Tuesday. The draft report says while investigators found substantial delays in care an...More >>
    KHQ.COM- The Department of Veterans Affairs says there's no proof that delays in care caused any deaths at the VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz.Revelations that as many as 40 veterans died while awaiting care rocked the agency this past spring, bringing to light scheduling problems and allegations of misconduct at other hospitals as well.NBC News obtained a draft report from the VA's Office of Inspector General Tuesday. The draft report says while investigators found substantial delays in care an...More >>
  • UPDATE: Sergeant who shot herself at Fort Lee dies

    UPDATE: Sergeant who shot herself at Fort Lee dies

    Monday, August 25 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-08-25 22:58:27 GMT
    Police officer patrols the entrance of Fort Lee in VirginiaPolice officer patrols the entrance of Fort Lee in Virginia
    FORT LEE, Va. (AP) - A commanding general at a Virginia Army base says an enraged soldier with a gun barricaded herself in an office, then shot herself in the head as officials tried to negotiate with her.More >>
    FORT LEE, Va. (AP) - A commanding general at a Virginia Army base says an enraged soldier with a gun barricaded herself in an office, then shot herself in the head as officials tried to negotiate with her. Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lyons says the soldier went on a rampage, throwing objects. More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.