Houston police and ICE agents found 40 people inside an alleged stash house during a bust near downtown Houston Tuesday, according to authorities.
The bust happened on Freeman Street at Morris Street shortly before 5 p.m.
Authorities said they arrested six people on the scene. The remaining people in the house ran into the neighborhood, where officers said they are looking for them.
"When you suspect that there were 40 individuals there and you only encounter six, you've got a problem on your hands. So that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to seek those individuals out and as we come across those individuals we will take them into custody," said ICE spokesman Greg Palmore.
Police said they were called to the scene after someone reported seeing a man try to assault a woman with a baseball bat. Investigators said the man was likely a guard keeping watch over the smuggled immigrants.
Authorities said they believe human trafficking occurred at the home and men known as "coyotes" smuggled illegal immigrants into the Houston area.