115 illegal immigrants housed in Texas
Web Producer: Ina Ronquillo
McALLEN, Texas (AP) - Two men were charged Thursday with conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants after authorities responding to a 911 call found about 115 suspected illegal immigrants in three clustered South Texas homes.
A U.S. magistrate judge ordered Vicente Ortiz Soto and Marcial Salas Gardunio held Thursday pending their detention hearings. Both requested that lawyers be appointed to represent them.
A criminal complaint filed against them described authorities arriving to find immigrants fleeing two houses in Edinburg while others remained locked in a third.
The call came from an immigrant inside one of the houses who said he was being held against his will with about 50 others. Immigrant witnesses told authorities that Salas greeted them at the stash house with "Welcome to hell," according to the complaint. Salas told investigators Ortiz paid him $500 per week to smuggle immigrants.
Immigrants from El Salvador and Honduras told agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations that both Ortiz and Salas drove them to the houses from the border and sold them snacks.
Officers found the windows and doors locked from the outside with chains and padlocks and no light in the house. Seven people inside the house were hospitalized for treatment of dehydration and malnourishment, The Monitor of McAllen reported.
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