Bedbug call exposes suspected trafficking ring: report

Bedbug call exposes suspected trafficking ring: report

(NewsNation) — A pest control company employee who was treating a Texas home for bedbugs alerted police to what authorities are calling a human trafficking operation, according to local news reports.

After receiving a call about bedbugs in a Princeton home, the technician arrived at the residence where he was greeted by young men who gave him a tour of the premises, CBS Texas reported.

In each room, three to five women slept on the floor, the technician said, and there was “a large amount of suitcases” in the open spaces of the house, but no furniture except folding tables and air mattresses.

The technician informed police of what he had seen and Princeton officers were dispatched to the home in March 2024 for a welfare check.

Upon further investigation of the initial report, police obtained a search warrant for the residence, which they identified as that of Santhosh Katkoori, and found 15 women living there.

According to police, the women were forced to work for Katkoori and his wife, Dwaraka Gunda, both 31.

Electronic devices including laptops, cell phones, printers, and “fraudulent documents” showed that multiple locations in Princeton, Melissa and McKinney were involved in the “forced labor of the victims,” ​​police said.

Katkoori, Gunda, Chandan Dasireddy, 24, and Anil Male, 37, were charged with human trafficking, a second-degree felony, in connection with the investigation.

Additional charges could be filed against several people as the investigation continues, police said.

CBS Texas reports that the suspects were released on bail after Katkoori requested permission to travel across the country on business.

Lt. Jesus Rodriguez told the station that because this is the first case of its kind in the Princeton Police Department, it is receiving assistance from the Department of Homeland Security.

Rodriguez said what happens to the victims will now be up to the courts, according to CBS Texas.