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More than 90 ‘victims of human smuggling’ found in Houston home

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Houston cops launch ‘human smuggling probe’ after 91 people – some with COVID – are found huddling together in two story home

  • Five women and 86 men were found crammed inside home in Southeast Houston Friday 
  • Police were investigating suspected kidnapping when they executed a search warrant and found the people huddling inside the home 
  • All the occupants are adults in their 20s and 30s; they told police they had not eaten in a while 
  • Some of the people had symptoms of COVID, including fever and loss of sense of smell and taste  

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Houston police were investigating a kidnapping report when they found what they believe to be more than 90 adult human smuggling victims crammed into a modest two-story home. 

The startling discovery was made on Friday on Chessington Drive in Southeast Houston.

Houston Police Department Assistant Chief Daryn Edwards told reporters during a news briefing Friday that some of the people who were found inside the home appeared to be suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.

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Police in Houston were investigating a suspected kidnapping when they executed a search warrant and found 91 men and women inside a two-story home on Chessington Drive

Law enforcement officials in Houston are investigating a human smuggling case, where more than 90 undocumented immigrants were found inside a home on the 12200 block of Chessington Drive on Friday

Law enforcement officials in Houston are investigating a human smuggling case, where more than 90 undocumented immigrants were found inside a home on the 12200 block of Chessington Drive on Friday

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) personnel surround a man as he exits from a residence in southwest Houston, Texas

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) personnel surround a man as he exits from a residence in southwest Houston, Texas

Dozens of people were found inside a residence in Southwest Houston, which was initially reported as a kidnapping but prompted police to look into human smuggling according to police and local news organizations

Dozens of people were found inside a residence in Southwest Houston, which was initially reported as a kidnapping but prompted police to look into human smuggling according to police and local news organizations

Paramedics transport a man into an ambulance from the scene of a human smuggling case in Houston

Paramedics transport a man into an ambulance from the scene of a human smuggling case in Houston

Police gave a statement having found more than 90 people in a home

Police gave a statement having found more than 90 people in a home 

According to Edwards, five of the 91 suspected smuggling victims were female and the rest were male. No minors were found, with the youngest person there being in their 20s and the oldest in their late 30s.

The occupants of the house told officers that they had not eaten in some time.

The incident began unfolding Thursday night, when police received a call reporting a kidnapping.

Edwards said detectives worked through the night to get information on a location for the possible kidnapping victim.

On Friday morning, officers arrived at the residence on Chessington to execute a search warrant as part of the investigation and discovered the 91 people huddled on the first and second floors of the home, which someone had been renting.

Residents help police raise a cordon. Police were initially called to investigate a kidnapping

Residents help police raise a cordon. Police were initially called to investigate a kidnapping

An undocumented immigrant is ushered into a bus from the scene of a human smuggling case

An undocumented immigrant is ushered into a bus from the scene of a human smuggling case

Medical practitioners wear personal protective equipment before entering the home

Medical practitioners wear personal protective equipment before entering the home

Police are seen working on the scene of the suspected human smuggling case Friday. Officials say of the 91 people - all adults in their 20s and 30s - five were women and the rest men

Police are seen working on the scene of the suspected human smuggling case Friday. Officials say of the 91 people – all adults in their 20s and 30s – five were women and the rest men 

Houston Police Department Assistant Chief Daryn Edwards said some of the home's occupants had COVID symptoms

Houston Police Department Assistant Chief Daryn Edwards said some of the home’s occupants had COVID symptoms 

A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) personnel escorts a man wearing handcuffs to a transport bus from a residence in southwest Houston

A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) personnel escorts a man wearing handcuffs to a transport bus from a residence in southwest Houston

Law enforcement officials investigate the site of a human smuggling case, where at least 85 men and 5 women were found

Law enforcement officials investigate the site of a human smuggling case, where at least 85 men and 5 women were found

A Houston Police official said the case will be handled by federal authorities and that some of the people inside the house were exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms

A Houston Police official said the case will be handled by federal authorities and that some of the people inside the house were exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms

Edwards revealed that the 911 call likely came from a relative of one of the suspected smuggling victims. 

When asked about the conditions inside the residence, Edwards said: ‘It wasn’t bad, like you would think. It didn’t look like … they were going to the bathroom on the floor.’

He said there were no beds in the home, but he did see mattresses.  

Some of the people inside the house exhibited COVID symptoms, including fever and loss of sense of smell and taste, he said. Health officials were doing rapid testing at the scene to determine how many were infected.

All 91 remained confined to the home as of Friday afternoon. Police and Houston firefighters were providing them with food, water and medical care.

So far, no arrests have been made in connection with the suspected smuggling case.

Police officials cordon off the street. Cops say several of the 91 people found inside the residence likely have COVID-19. According to police, some have fever and loss of smell.

Police officials cordon off the street. Cops say several of the 91 people found inside the residence likely have COVID-19. According to police, some have fever and loss of smell.

A young resident sits with a cat outside a home as police officials cordon off a street in southwest Houston, Texas, U.S., April 30, 2021. Dozens of persons were found inside a residence in Southwest Houston

A young resident sits with a cat outside a home as police officials cordon off a street in southwest Houston, Texas, U.S., April 30, 2021. Dozens of persons were found inside a residence in Southwest Houston

Houston police officers found more than 90 people with some showing symptoms of Covid-19  'all huddled together' on in what they believe may be a case of human smuggling

Houston police officers found more than 90 people with some showing symptoms of Covid-19  ‘all huddled together’ on in what they believe may be a case of human smuggling

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