Nearly 30 found in Texas smuggling operation, 1 man arrested

A federal prosecutor says an Honduran man has been charged with harboring after he was found keeping watch of more than two dozen people who authorities say were being held in a Houston home as part of a human smuggling operation

HOUSTON -- An Honduran man was charged on Friday with harboring more than two dozen people who authorities say were being held in a Houston home as part of a human smuggling operation, according to a federal prosecutor.

The smuggling operation was discovered Thursday evening after one of the men who was being kept inside the home escaped and was seen running down a residential street in his underwear, yelling that he had been kidnapped, Houston police said.

The home had boarded-up windows and deadbolt locks on the inside doors.

After their discovery, the immigrants were taken to a school gymnasium to get out of the cold, police said.

At the home, authorities also found 36-year-old Mauro Dominguez-Maldonado, who prosecutors allege was in charge of watching the immigrants and performing other duties as part of the smuggling operation.

Dominguez-Maldonado, who authorities say was living illegally in Houston, was arrested and later charged with harboring. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.

Dominguez-Maldonado was set to appear before a magistrate judge on Monday. Court records did not list an attorney for him.

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