2 kids among more than 100 people held hostage in Houston stash house



KHOU.com & KHOU 11 News

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 9:55 AM

HOUSTON — More than 100 suspected illegal immigrants were found living in deplorable conditions in a South Houston stash house Wednesday, police said.

The men, women and children were held against their will by smugglers or coyotes.

One officer described the inside of the home in the 14700 block of Almeda School Road as "awful."

"There is no hot water in the house," said John Cannon, a spokesman with the Houston Police Department. "There is a toilet that partially works — one bathroom for in excess of 100 people."

Police said there was human waste all over the house.

The victims included a 24-year-old pregnant woman and her two children, ages 5 and 7.

"The children were scared," said Noland Luke, a neighbor. "They brought them out, they crying and carrying on. Feel sorry for them."

The woman’s mother called authorities after a coyote, who was paid to bring them across the border from Mexico, refused to release the immigrants until he got more money.

Police investigated her complaint and discovered one of the largest stash houses they’ve ever seen.

Deadbolt locks on the inside doors kept the victims from being able to leave the one-story home.

The hostages — 94 adult males, 14 adult females and the two children — will be turned over to the custody of ICE.

Five smugglers were arrested by Houston police.

There were about 250 chickens living outside the home.

Still, neighbors said they never suspected anything.

"I only see them going in and out. That’s it," said Ellea Johnson. "I never had an idea it was like this."

Johnson was especially disturbed about the children.

"These kids aren’t going to forget this, they’re not," she said. "They need counseling for this. They’re young, elementary school children. It’s going to stick with them."