Men Who Allegedly Held More Than 100 Locked in Houston Home Went Before Judge This Week
When Houston police pulled over a red Mustang last week they found a couple of guns and a number of papers that HPD spokesperson John Cannon said showed some illegal activity.
Photo by Makaristos Five face charges in stash house smuggling case in Houston.
Soon after police, who were investigating a possible hostage-taking, made the decision to enter a residence on Alameda Schoo Road. What they found shocked them.
It was a typical immigrant smuggling stash house situation: boarded up windows, doors that locked from the inside, men in their underclothes and without shoes. What was atypical, said Cannon, was the amount of people smooshed inside the location. There were 115 people inside the house, all allegedly held against there will by at least five men who, according to court papers, threatened men and women with guns, a taser and a wooden paddle.
The people trapped inside the home told police that they had paid to cross into the U.S. but were being held until families paid transportation fees. This week, those five men accused of holding those folks, stood before a district judge on charges of extortion and smuggling.
This all started when the Houston Police department got a call March 19, from a woman who said her daughter and two grandchildren were being held in Houston for $13,000. According to court papers, the woman who had received the phone call demanding money, had earlier paid a coyote $15,000 to transport the woman and kids to Chicago. With that information authorities traced the phone numbers and were led to a location on in the 14000 block of Alameda School Road, court papers say.
While cops were staking out the place they saw four people leave the home and drive off in the Mustang. Cops pulled the car over and found two guns in the car, along with those papers. Authorities moved in on the house and saw three men run off, they were identified in court papers as the stash house guards, Jonathan Solorzano-Tavila, Antonio Barruquet-Hildiberta, and Eugenia Sesmas-Borja. The men were caught and taken into custody.
As cops went into the residence they saw several women, and men in their underwear. Police were able to find the woman and her kids.