Police: More than a dozen found at stash house

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Nearly 20 suspected illegal immigrants from Guatemala were arrested Sunday afternoon after they were found crammed into a southeast Houston home on Klondike at Easthaven.

Neighbors said one of the suspected illegal immigrants stumbled into another house begging for someone to call his brother.

"He had a gash on one foot, he had a broken foot," said resident Glenda Hagler. "He couldn't even walk straight, he looked like he had been beaten."

Hagler said that man stumbled into an elderly woman's home, who then asked her neighbors to call police. When officers arrived they said more than a dozen men scattered through the neighborhood, many running away without shoes on their feet. Another five men were later found still hiding in the home. Police said the home is a rental property and had no furniture. Only cell phones, DVDs and a TV were found in the house.

"People started running, they tackled one guy down the street down here," said resident Donna Lawrence.

Hagler said the man who appeared to have been beaten was able to leave the neighborhood before officers arrived.

"Somebody picked him up right before police showed up, which I hope he gets some medical attention," said Hagler. "That poor man, I felt so sorry for him, I wish I could have helped him. The best thing I could do for him was feed him."

Officers gave the men some water as they waited for agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to arrive and take custody of the men. Lawrence and Hagler said they are not surprised the home was being used as a stash house.

"It's constant, in and out, we've seen people crawling in and out of windows, all kinds of strange things," said Lawrence.

"A big black truck pulled into the garage yesterday and immediately all the windows were blacked out, so we knew something was up," said Hagler.

Harris County property records show the home is owned by a development company. Local 2 has not yet been able to track down the owner.

Copyright 2012 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.