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Home / WORLD / Federal prosecutors charge five illegal aliens with human smuggling after finding 97 MIGRANTS locked in Houston ‘STASH HOUSE’

Federal prosecutors charge five illegal aliens with human smuggling after finding 97 MIGRANTS locked in Houston ‘STASH HOUSE’

A criminal complaint alleges that the five suspects “harbored, concealed, and shielded illegal aliens for the purpose of commercial advantage of private financial gain,” Acting US Attorney Jennifer Lowery said on Monday in a statement. Each alleged smuggler faces up to 10 years in a federal prison and a $250,000 maximum fine, if convicted.

The suspects include four men and one woman, ranging in age from 21 to 31. Two are from Mexico, two are from Honduras, and one is from El Salvador. All were residing in the US illegally.

The investigation began after a woman called police to allege that her brother had been kidnapped. According to prosecutors, she said she had paid the smugglers several thousand dollars to take her brother to the US, but after he had been brought across the border, the suspects demanded additional money before they would release him. They also threatened to kill her brother if they didn’t receive the additional money, she said.

Houston police went to the home where the brother was allegedly held last Friday and found 97 people locked inside. All 97 turned out to be illegal aliens, and they were all packed into two rooms with the doors locked from the outside, according to the criminal complaint. The male migrants were wearing only underwear.

At least one of the migrants in the stash house was told that if money was not paid for his release, he would be put in “four pieces of wood,” Lowery said. Several of the migrants identified the five alleged smugglers.

Illegal crossings on the US-Mexico border have surged to record highs since President Joe Biden took office in January and immediately began overturning his predecessor Donald Trump’s strict immigration policies. For instance, with Biden pledging to let all unaccompanied minors who arrive at the border stay in the US indefinitely, families have voluntarily split up and sent their children northward with smugglers in unprecedented numbers.

Arrivals of unaccompanied child migrants rose to 16,000 in March, exceeding the previous record of 11,475. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has estimated that the flow of illegal child aliens will have risen to as many as 26,100 by September, according to documents obtained by Axios.

With CBP detention facilities jammed, many children have gone hungry, slept on concrete floors, and gone days on end without seeing the outdoors. It took an average of 130 hours to process minors through CBP facilities in March, exceeding the government’s standard limit of 72 hours.

Both former President Trump and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have called current conditions at the border not only a security crisis, but also “inhumane.”

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