EDINBURG — The call came from inside the stash house, where more than 100 illegal immigrants claimed they were locked inside and hadn’t had food or water for days.
Edinburg police responded about 10 a.m. Wednesday to the stash house in the 2800 block of East University Drive.
Police found a series of rental homes at the end of a dirt road secluded from the highway. Officers said burglar bars sealed the house's windows and the doors were locked with chains and padlocks from the outside.
“It was crazy,” said Lt. Oscar Treviño, Edinburg police spokesman.
Officers freed the immigrants from the house. Some tried to flee into a nearby residential neighborhood and brush. Those who remained said they had not eaten or had anything to drink for at least three days.
Border Patrol and a Department of Public Safety helicopter helped track down and detain the immigrants, with more than 100 people from Mexico and Central and South America detained, Treviño said.
Seven immigrants were transported to area hospitals to treat dehydration and malnourishment, Treviño said.
“They hadn’t eaten or drank water for days,” he said. “There was no water, no light — nothing in there.”
Border Patrol detained two males — one with keys to an SUV on the property and the other with thousands of dollars in cash in his pocket. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continues to investigate the case.
Most stash houses are found just outside Edinburg — not within the city limits, said Treviño, who urged neighbors to report similar residences to police.
“They’re just not reporting a crime,” he said. “You might be saving somebody’s life.”
Jared Taylor covers courts and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at email@example.com and (956) 683-4439.
Follow Jared Taylor on Twitter: @jaredataylor