Homeland Security Launches Human Smuggling Investigation After Finding More Than 90 People In Home
The discovery of more than 90 people crammed into a Texas home is being investigated as a possible case of human smuggling, as the Department of Homeland Security looks to crack down on the crime.
Officers with the Houston Police Department in Texas received a tip about a possible kidnapping on Thursday, April 29, and were led to a two-story home in southwest Houston where they discovered the large group of people.
Assistant Chief Daryn Edwards of the Houston Police Department said those in the property were ‘all huddled together’ and all but five of them were men.
Seemingly aged between 20 and 30 years old, no one in the home appeared to be seriously injured, though some reportedly showed symptoms of coronavirus.
Edwards said the scene struck him as ‘more of a smuggling thing and not a trafficking thing’, The New York Times reports, and investigators from the Department of Homeland Security arrived on the scene to evaluate the possibility of human smuggling, and to try and determine how many of the people inside the home may have been smuggling victims.
In the wake of the discovery, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is set to lead a smuggling investigation.
Edwards noted that there is no information on who owns the home the group were staying in, or who may have brought them there.
Neighbours in the area did not report any suspicious activity, though Edwards urged members of the community to assist the police in reducing crime in Houston by reporting anything out of the ordinary.
Even if there’s any doubt at all, just call us. We need the community to be able to speak with us and work with us to resolve incidents.
The alarming discovery comes as the Department of Homeland Security looks to crack down on human smuggling groups at the southern border through Operation Sentinel, which will see the department partner with the FBI, State Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration to disrupt smuggling organisations and hinder the access to profit.
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CreditsThe New York Times
The New York Times