US & Canada

More than 100 immigrants rescued from Texas 'stash' house

A person is taken from a Houston, Texas, house on a gurney on 19 March 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption The migrants were stripped of clothes and shoes to hinder their escape

More than 100 suspected illegal immigrants have been rescued from a Texas "stash" house where smugglers had allegedly held them pending payment.

On Wednesday police found people ranging in age from five to 47 after hearing a report from a distressed relative of missing migrants.

Conditions in the house were squalid, and the people were stripped of clothes and shoes to hinder their escape.

The former captives face deportation at the conclusion of the police inquiry.

"The smell and conditions were just awful," Houston Police Department spokesman John Cannon told the Houston Chronicle.

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Media captionThe BBC travelled to California and Tijuana, Mexico, to report on US deportees' grim prospects

He said investigators found rooms littered with trash and said the house had no hot water and just a single toilet.

Federal agents and local authorities found the roughly 110 people hungry and thirsty after being locked in the house, some for weeks, with windows boarded from the inside.

A tipster is said to have contacted authorities on Tuesday, saying he was being extorted by migrant smugglers and that a scheduled "coyote" drop of a mother and her two children had not occurred as planned.

Police have not yet indicated what led them to the house, which was raided on Wednesday morning. Five suspects are believed to have been arrested.

The raid is the biggest in the region in seven years, and many in the home are believed to hail from Central America.