Houston smuggling operation: Five of 97 people found trapped in a home test positive for COVID

Five of the nearly 100 people who were found trapped in a Houston home last Friday in an apparent human smuggling operation have tested positive for COVID-19, according to police.

The positive tests came after officers asked health officials to test the captives for coronavirus infections after some of them complained of possible COVID-19 symptoms, including fever and loss of smell and taste, Assistant Police Chief Daryn Edwards said.



Paramedics transport a man into an ambulance from the scene of a human smuggling case, where more than 90 undocumented immigrants were found inside a home on the 12200 block of Chessington Drive, Friday, April 30, 2021, in Houston. 


Paramedics transport a man into an ambulance from the scene of a human smuggling case, where more than 90 undocumented immigrants were found inside a home on the 12200 block of Chessington Drive, Friday, April 30, 2021, in Houston.  (Houston Chronicle via AP)




Of the 97 people discovered inside the house, five have tested positive for COVID, and another five are in a hospital with COVID tests pending, according to FOX 26 reporter Matthew Seedorff.

Authorities received tips last Thursday that prompted an all-night investigation that eventually led investigators to the home the next day.

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A SWAT team entered the home on 12210 Chessington Drive, and the kidnapping investigation soon became a "disturbing" human smuggling case, Edwards said.


Police called in the health department to screen for possible COVID-19 cases and were weighing quarantine options as the victims received medical care inside the house.

Of the people found, only five were female, the rest were male, and none were children, Edwards said. The individuals told authorities that they had not eaten in a while.


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Five people are facing federal charges for their alleged roles in the human smuggling operation, the Justice Department said Monday. None are U.S. citizens and are residing in the country illegally.

Fox News’ Michael Ruiz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.