The Houston Police Department is investigating a possible human smuggling case after officers discovered at least 90 people inside a residence.
Officers initially responded to a call at the 12200 block of Chessington Drive regarding a kidnapping, according to the Houston Police Department. Authorities now say the incident “may possibly involve human smuggling” after finding dozens of individuals.
HPD Commanders and PIO at 12200 Chessington Drive after dozens of persons found inside a residence. Incident initially reported as a kidnapping and may possibly involve human smuggling. Media briefing expected in about an hour. #HouNews pic.twitter.com/uNyKoYy00n
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) April 30, 2021
“Last night we were made aware of a kidnapping call” Houston Police Assistant Chief Daryn Edwards, said during a briefing Friday.
Edwards said investigators worked through the night to track down the possible location and obtained a search warrant for the residence. Upon arrival, authorities realized it had turned into a human smuggling investigation. (RELATED: ‘The Smuggler Is Our Enemy’: DHS Announces Operation Targeting Criminal Organizations Who Smuggle Migrants)
“When we got into the house we realized that there were over 90 people inside. And so we immediately began to assess any kind of a special threat after that,” he continued.
“We are concerned that there may be some positive COVID cases inside the house,” Edwards added, noting some people were symptomatic and presented fevers. Edwards said the health department was conducting rapid testing.
— Matthew Seedorff (@MattSeedorff) April 30, 2021
Edwards said “it was a big surprise when we got in the house and saw what we saw,” noting there were no children and the youngest individual in the residence was likely in their early 20’s and the oldest was in their upper 30’s. Edwards said there were five females and the rest were males.
The investigation remains ongoing.