MARCH 05, 2007
The illegal immigration crisis has spilled over into quiet U.S. suburban neighborhoods where smugglers often hold border crossers in stash houses until relatives pay a fee to release them.
In the last few months alone, federal authorities have busted at least three so-called stash houses, where dozens of illegal immigrants were held in deplorable conditions that could easily ignite a health crisis for surrounding neighbors not to mention attract a criminal element.
The latest stash house was discovered this week in a quiet southeast Houston neighborhood, where 67 illegal immigrants were held in a small house. Six men have been charged with harboring the immigrants and it is unknown how long the stash house was in operation.
In mid February at least 46 illegal immigrants were discovered in a north Houston home that also had an arsenal of firearms and last October 50 illegals were taken into custody from a San Antonio home that also had a collection of stolen cars. The 50 illegal aliens were crammed into three small bedrooms.
These are just a few examples of how the lucrative business of human smuggling doesn’t simply affect the U.S.-Mexico border but rather American suburbia, where families once lived in relative peace. In fact, in the court testimony of Phoenix’s largest smuggling operation, a veteran Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent testified that stash houses (also known as drop houses) may be selected in very upscale neighborhoods where no one would expect it.
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