5 victims found in human smuggling operation in north Houston, police say

Woman reported that she was being held against her will

HOUSTON – Houston police spent hours Wednesday afternoon in and out of a house that they believed people were held against their will. Officials said ICE was called to the scene.

Officials left the scene before 2 p.m. with two suspects in custody and five victims of suspected human smuggling.

”It’s too close to home. I didn’t know that was going on around here,” said Gilbert Gomez, who lives nearby.

Police were called out around 8:30 a.m. by a woman believed to be in her 20s. She reported that she was being held against her will.

”I live right next door and I’ve never seen anything out of the ordinary,” said David.

It’s unclear how long the group had been here, but others who live in the area said they did notice something suspicious.

”There’s always shady stuff people coming and going all the time,” said Albert Howell, who lives in the area.

The five victims appeared to be unharmed, but investigators said that’s not always the case in these types of situations.

”Most of the folks that get smuggled over here, they live in pretty deplorable conditions, housing and stuff. It is extremely tragic,” said Van Tien of the HPD.

Civil rights organizations, such as the LULAC District 18, are working to put an end to human trafficking.

”If this is happening to adults here, then more than likely it’s happening somewhere else and basically getting ready to happen to some of these kids that are being smuggled across the border,” said LULAC District 18 member Jose Vega.

Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for similar situations.

”If you see something say something calls the police and let us know. That’s the only way we can dismantle some of those human smuggling operations,” Tien said.

Officials believe the group may be from Mexico, but other details about how they got here are still being worked out.

ICE officials tell us that Homeland Security is involved, but would not provide further details on the case.

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