Human smuggling ring busted in SE Austin - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Human smuggling ring busted in SE Austin

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A confidential tip led to police lead to a human smuggling bust.

"I just heard somebody talking on the loud speaker and they were like, come out, come out with your hands up and they were saying that in Spanish," said Victor Rodriguez.

This is exclusive video of several detainees. There were 28 total.

Victor said, "Police asked me if they could use my driveway to put the, to handcuff the people in and I said yea."

Rodriguez shot this video at his home in the Paisano Mobile Home Community, in southeast Austin.

"Two girls came out, they were about 13, 14," he added. "They looked pretty upset."

These three men are kneeling down, with their hands zip-tied, while another man has to be lifted up onto a stretcher by officers.

APD Assistant Chief Troy Gay said, "Our department had received confidential information...that there had been several people that had been smuggled into the United States from Central America."

Tactical units deployed gas canisters inside this trailer. That's when they say two people jumped out the window, injuring themselves on the shattered glass.

Gay said, "At this point all 28 need to go back to our station to be interviewed. We're not sure how many were actually smugglers vs the smugglees."

According to information given to investigators, some of these people were being held against their will.

"One of the ladies was crying. They looked really tired and they looked really dirty," said Nancy Ramirez.

Ramirez says she never noticed anything suspicious at unit 18.

"The community got together to get them water because we were worried," she added.

Victor said, "This is the first time something like this happens."

"They're just here to get a better life...it's just, sometimes, it's not the right way," said Nancy.

Now authorities are trying to determine who is a victim and who will face charges.

The penalty for human smuggling is a minimum of 20 years to life in prison.

Should they be facing federal charges, it bumps up that minimum sentence to 25 years.

Authorities plan on announcing charges soon.

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