Bedbugs help unravel suspected human trafficking ring in Texas

CBS News Texas

PRINCETON, Texas — On a row of newly constructed homes in Princeton, North Texas, it seems no one noticed anything odd about the quiet two-story brick house on Ginsburg Lane.

That is until the bedbugs arrived.

A local pest control company said it got a call to treat the house. The technician told police that when he arrived, he was met by young men who showed him around the house.

In each bedroom, he said, three to five women were sleeping on the floor. In open areas of the house, he described "a large amount of suitcases" and no furniture beyond folding tables and air mattresses.

Responding to a tip from the company about suspicious behavior, Princeton police found 15 women living inside the home, all between the ages of 23 and 26.

Four suspects, Santhosh Katkoori, Dwaraka Gunda, Chandan Dasireddy and Anil Male, were arrested on charges of human trafficking in connection to the investigation.

According to arrest affidavits, police learned through interviews that the women were in what they believed were internships to learn Java scripting or computer programming.

The affidavits say the women would apply for jobs and, once they got them, would have their salaries paid to a company run by Katkoori and Gunda that would take a 20% cut.

"It's very new to us, so we're working through it," said Lt. Jesus Rodriguez.

It's the first time Princeton has worked a case like this, Rodriguez said, and the department is receiving help from the Department of Homeland Security studying laptops, phones and fake documents seized from the house.

Police suspect what they found is part of a much larger operation with potentially 100 victims or more.

"And we believe they may have other homes in the area for this operation as well," said Rodriguez.

He couldn't say what will happen to the victims in the case, saying it will be up to the courts.

The suspects have all been released on bond.

Katkoori has requested permission to travel the country on business while awaiting trial and a hearing has been set for mid-July

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