Authorities in Houston looking for illegal immigrants raided a home on Monday and reportedly found 48 people living in the single-story, three-bedroom house -- 14 of them children. Police believe the home is a "stash house," a place where newly arrived illegal immigrants hide out, said local TV station KHOU. The immigration status of the home's 48 occupants was unclear, but authorities took them to an immigration detention facility and four of the men detained were suspected of being smugglers, according to KHOU.
Neighbors told the station that the raid came as a shock to them; they never suspected anything wrong was happening inside the house.
"We never saw anything strange," neighbor Bertha Castillo said. "We would maybe see 10 people outside. They would come out and wash their cars and trucks."
Neighbor Terri O'Neil expressed sympathy for the those found in the home, but added that "I don't like what they're doing to the children."
Should any of the 48 be determined to be in the U.S. illegally, they will be deported, KHOU quoted authorities as saying.
These are pretty common occurrences in the Southwest, given the vast U.S. border with Mexico. In May, 131 illegal immigrants were found at a stash house in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, and four people were arrested and charged with smuggling the immigrants into the country.