Five people were arrested and 18 other victims were rescued by Houston police in connection with alleged human trafficking and sex slavery operation.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said that on June 5, 2019, investigators from the Houston Police Department received information on a migrant being kept in a stash house in Houston.
Officers said 5 people were arrested and 18 were rescued, including two women and 16 men.
The chief said that investigators traveled to an area where victims of trafficking were believed to be held. Officers saved a juvenile victim and detained several suspects during a traffic stop.
The traffic stop spurred a further joint investigation with special agents of Homeland Security Investigations from the Houston Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Acevedo explained the investigation led law enforcement officials to a northwest Houston location, where an undercover exchange of money led to the arrest of another suspect and the recovery of an additional kidnap victim.
The Houston police chief stated that this arrest led to a stash house being discovered “where other victims were held against their will”. He said:
“We were able to rescue 16 additional victims from deplorable conditions”
Acevedo said women were imprisoned, sexually assaulted for 25 days, and the 16 men were held in “little to no clothes” and forced to work and act sexually.
He stated that in total, police arrested five suspects. They are charged with engaging in organized crime, sexual assault, and kidnapping.
Those suspects are identified as:
- Fredy Moreno-Gill, 26
- Jose Manuel Aviles-Diaz, 26
- Jose Silvestre, 18
- Morris Gudiel Campos Gomez, 39
- Gabriel Salazar-Bautista, 35
Southern Texas District reveals that Gabriel Salazar-Bautista is a Mexican national deported in 2009 and 2013 by immigration officers. Salazar-Bautista was one of the suspects who was arrested on June 3 at the initial traffic stop. In relation to the Texas kidnapping charge, he is now facing a federal charge of illegal re-entry after removal.
Besides the victims of trafficking in humans, police recovered four guns, more than $10,000 in cash, and 19 grams of cocaine.