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FBI raids Fort Worth home and finds 21 victims of human trafficking

The FBI arrested two men in connection with a human smuggling ring.

FORT WORTH, Texas — A house in the 1800 block of Miller Avenue in Fort Worth is at the center of a federal investigation into human trafficking.

The FBI’s SWAT team raided the home Wednesday night and found 21 people inside, along with two suspects.

The two suspects were identified as Carlos Plata Ibarra, 35, and Gonzalo Ramirez, 33. 

“They went to the house around 9 p.m. last night and raided the home. There were two coyotes that traffic people,” said Hilda Duarte, of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

"Coyotes" is the nickname for traffickers who smuggle people across the border.

Hilda Duarte is a leader with LULAC. The civil rights group was called in to help find a place for the 21 people found in the home, including seven women and a 3-year-old girl.

“Their clothes were taken from them. That’s to keep them from escaping and leaving the home,” said Duarte.

The group of migrants was released, and LULAC paid for their hotel rooms so they wouldn’t be out in the cold. WFAA spoke to some of them but are not using their names to protect their identities.

One woman said her husband, who was a street vendor, was murdered in Honduras by men extorting money from him. Fearing for her own life, she walked for a month to get to the U.S.-Mexico border

"I wanted to come here to give my daughters a better life and for me to be safe," she said.

The migrants said they were smuggled in an 18-wheeler packed with people and brought to the house in Fort Worth.

"There were so many of us packed in. It was very uncomfortable," one person said.

Migrants said when the FBI raided, they didn’t know what was happening. They heard pounding and yelling.

"They first thing I thought is they are going to kill us if it was some type of bad guy," one person said.

But, the FBI was there to arrest two of the smuggling suspects and rescued the migrants.

LULAC has found family in the U.S. for all of them and has found transportation for them.

Because they are victims of trafficking they will be allowed to stay in the U.S. and apply for asylum.

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