HOUSTON – A Honduran national was charged Friday in connection with the discovery of nearly 30 victims of human smuggling in a southwest Houston home.
Federal prosecutors said 36-year-old Mauro Dominguez-Maldonado was arrested late Thursday after police said they responded to reports of a man in his underwear running around the neighborhood and claiming he had been kidnapped.
Officers said they arrived at the scene and the man told them that dozens more were being held hostage in a nearby home. Police said they entered the home and found 28 males and one female inside, who were in their underwear but in good condition.
Investigators said the victims, who were from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Cuba, reported they were picked up in Brownsville between two days and a week ago.
Prosecutors said the home where the victims were being kept had boarded-up windows and deadbolt locks on the interior doors.
Dominguez-Maldonado, who is charged with harboring illegal aliens, is accused of watching over the victims and performing other actions in the furtherance of a human smuggling operation. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000.
Police said the victims were evaluated at a nearby school gymnasium before being transported to an immigration facility.