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A kidnapping investigation led police to a “surprise” find inside a Texas home: more than 90 people huddled in with some possibly infected with COVID-19.
Houston police learned the possible removal Thursday and investigated overnight, obtaining a search warrant for a house on the southwest side of town, officials said.
“It was a big surprise when we walked into the house and saw what we saw,” Deputy Police Chief Daryn Edwards said Friday afternoon.
Inside the two-story house, the SWAT team found 91 people between the ages of 20 and 30, with five women in the predominantly male group, officials said.
Investigators believe they came across a human trafficking operation not detected by anyone in the community.
“We didn’t hear anything from any of the neighbors as far as anything that would lead them to believe there was something like that inside,” Edwards said. “It’s very surprising.”
Several people have reported symptoms of COVID-19, including loss of smell and taste and fever. The city’s health department visited the house to perform tests for the virus, officials said.
People remained inside the house until the health department could determine who might need to quarantine.
“We are concerned that there are positive cases of COVID inside the house,” Edwards said.
Meanwhile, Homeland Security Investigations was trying to determine who had brought people to the house.
“We have to separate who the victims are,” Edwards said. “Someone who would be involved in something like this, as soon as they realize we’re here, they’ll probably try to be a part of it.”
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