26 illegal immigrants were found half-naked in Houston last week, hostages of Mexican drug cartels.
One escapee ran through the streets nearly naked shouting for help and found himself in the neighborhood of Mary Lewis. Lewis described the captive as having scratches all over his torso, and paranoid as he continually looked over his shoulder as he explained where he came from.
Police were notified and went to where the escapee told police his fellow captives were being held. Police found 24 men and one woman. restrained, nearly naked, and in the bitter cold.
Mauro Dominguez-Maldonado, who was found at the scene, faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000 if convicted of his involvement with the captivity of over two dozen immigrants. Dominguez-Maldonado was allegedly armed and watching the captives ensuring none of them escaped.
Houston Police Department tweeted updates on the discovery:
“Southwest officers are at 4800 Raven Ridge. Officers received a report of a male in his briefs running down the street yelling that he had been kidnapped. The male advised that thirty more people were being held hostage in the house. Officers made entry and rescued approximately 25 males and 1 female. Officers found this was a human smuggling operation and are cooperating with DHS. Fort Bend ISD police assisted by opening a nearby school gym so the victims could get out of the cold.”
Southwest officers are at 4800 Raven Ridge. Officers received a report of a male in his briefs running down the street yelling that he had been kidnapped. The male advised that thirty more people were being held hostage in the house. Officers made entry and rescued approximately pic.twitter.com/kRWS89zuUy
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) December 4, 2020
The victims were all taken to a local public school where police were able to access the gymnasium to get the rescued immigrants into a warmer environment until further accommodations could be made. The victims primarily came from Latin American countries, including Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, and Cuba had been picked up in Brownsville, and held in the Houston home for days, some nearly a week. Fort Bend ISD spokesman Nick Petito praised the local community for their efforts in helping the police and the victims.
“The neighborhood was amazing in the outpouring of support that they showed … It’s unfortunate circumstances, but we hopefully played a role in providing shelter for that time being.”
This event is being treated as a human smuggling operation which may lead to further discoveries of captives and the dismantling of more smuggling cells.