More than 90 ‘victims of human smuggling’, some of whom have COVID-19, are found huddling inside two-story Houston 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
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 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
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.
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
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.