Police arrested one person after locating 29 migrants in an alleged stash house in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Federal investigators received information that the house was allegedly smuggling and hiding migrants with large amounts of narcotics, KOB 4 reported. Investigators began surveilling the two-story home in August after receiving a tip that between 30 and 40 migrants were inside.
During the surveillance process, they witnessed several people entering and exiting the house on multiple occasions, the outlet reported.
Court documents reveal that agents obtained a search warrant on Sep. 27 and found firearms and drugs in a vehicle near the house, the outlet reported. Police arrested 34-year-old Edwin Padilla, the suspect, who allegedly stored the items in his vehicle.
Upon entering the home, they also found 29 illegal migrants living in dire conditions, the outlet reported. Padilla reportedly arranged for them to be smuggled into the U.S. Investigators retrieved a bag of blue pills believed to be fentanyl and a gun with ammunition, KOB 4 reported.
29 migrants found in alleged stash house in Albuquerque https://t.co/hJX06T2k4x
— KOAT.com (@koat7news) October 20, 2022
Investigators reportedly had to help a sickly young woman and old man bathe and get dressed because they were highly malnourished, just barely consuming enough food or water necessary to stay alive, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Dozens Of Alleged Migrants Found Inside Box Truck)
“It’s unfortunate that these individuals have to defer to these alternative ways of migration,” said Flaviano Graciano, communications manager of the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center. “The desperation of those fleeing and trying to come to the U.S., many will, and have, become victims of human trafficking and cartels.”
Graciano told the outlet that migrants often arrive in the U.S. in inhumane conditions that often become fatal. He detailed an incident in June when 50 migrants died in the back of a truck.
“A clear example happened this past June in San Antonio, where more than 50 migrants lost their lives in the back of a sweltering truck, because they were just left there to die basically,” Graciano said. “We have laws to protect asylum seekers and victims of trafficking and crime.”
Padilla has been charged with federal human trafficking, drug and firearm-related charges, the outlet reported. He is already a convicted felon who was suspected of smuggling Guatemalan migrants into the U.S. in 2021.