Police say five of the roughly 100 people who were found trapped in a Houston home last Friday in an apparent human trafficking operation tested positive for COVID-19.
The positive tests came after health workers asked health officials to test captives for coronavirus infections after some of them complained of possible symptoms of COVID-19, including fever and a loss of smell and taste, said Deputy Police Chief Daryn Edwards.
Of the 97 people found inside the house, five have tested positive for COVID, and five others are in a hospital with COVID tests pending, according to FOX 26 reporter Matthew Seedorff.
Authorities received advice last Thursday which led to an all-night investigation that ultimately led investigators to the home the next day.
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A SWAT team entered the house on 12210 Chessington Drive, and the kidnapping investigation quickly became a “disturbing” human trafficking case, Edwards said.
Police called the health department to screen for possible cases of COVID-19 and weighed quarantine options as victims received medical treatment inside the home.
Of those found, only five were women, the rest were men and none were children, Edwards said. The individuals told authorities they had not eaten for a while.
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Five people face federal charges for their alleged roles in the human trafficking operation, the Justice Department said on Monday. None of them are US citizens and reside illegally in the country.
Michael Ruiz and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.