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A group of suspected hostages were found half-naked by police in an alleged smuggling operation.

Around 25 men and one woman were rescued by police in southwest Houston, Texas, US, after receiving reports at around 6pm on Thursday of the man before raiding a home in Raven Ridge Drive.

Officers say they heard a loud bang as they approached the home where they arrested three people, reports say.

Commander Jonathon Halliday, of the Houston Police Department said: "That’s a pretty significant number for us to encounter."

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As the half-naked "captives" were escorted out by officers, neighbours handed them their clothes to warm up.

Most of the people found inside the locked house, with boarded up windows, reportedly told police they were being held against their will, ABC13 reports.

People were found in every room including the attic of the three-bedroom house, say police who called for assistance from immigration authorities.

The people were taken to nearby Ridgemont Elementary School for shelter and medical treatment.

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The man who first ran down the street claimed he had been kidnapped by someone armed with a revolver, according to the Houston Chronicle.

It is believed those arrested could be "coyotes", people hired to smuggle people into the country.

The victims, described by investigators as being from Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba and Honduras, are said to have been snatched from the city of Brownsville, around 350 miles away up to a week ago.

One man reportedly sustained minor injuries from falling through the attic and was taken to hospital.

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Footage from the scene shows some people in their underwear in handcuffs.

A Houston Police spokesman said: "I think what the suspects did is they undressed and hid among the other people and so we pulled out the ones that looked clean – still had their jewellery.

"Most people were dirty and they didn't have jewellery on, but these few people did."

One neighbour said he had seen who he believes to be the home's occupant "come in and out multiple times" often getting into a grey truck, still parked on the scene.

"He just seemed like a normal person, normal dude, normal clothes – nothing seemed peculiar about him," he added.

  • Crime
  • Immigration
  • Police

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