By ROSA SANCHEZ, ABC News(HOUSTON) — Immigration officials arrested one suspect in connection to a possible human smuggling operation in southwest Houston Thursday evening.
Houston police initially responded to a kidnapping call in the 4800 block of Ridgeton Street, and when they arrived at the scene, they found a man running down the street looking for help, Houston police said on Twitter Thursday evening. The man said 30 more people were being held hostage in the house, police said.
Inside the house, police found 28 men dressed in only their underwear, and one woman, police said. They were not bound, but investigators said the windows of the house were boarded up and the doors locked, KTRK-TV reported. There was also food inside the house.
Most of the people told police they were being held against their will and had been locked in the house from a few days to a week.
Investigators said the victims were picked up in Brownsville, Texas, but originally came from other countries, such as Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Cuba, KTRK reported. Immigration officials concluded Friday the 29 people are all undocumented immigrants.
The 29 people were taken to the Ridgemont Elementary School gym for shelter, police said.
On Friday evening, immigration authorities arrested 36-year-old Mauro Dominguez-Maldonado, from Honduras for allegedly harboring the 29 individuals inside his Houston residence, U.S. attorney Ryan K. Patrick said in a release.
He is expected appear in court on Monday.
The criminal complaint alleges Dominguez-Maldonado was in charge of watching over the aliens and performing multiple tasks in furtherance of a human smuggling operation, according to the release.
If convicted, Dominguez-Maldonado could face up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
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