Bedbug Exterminators Uncover Suspected Human Trafficking Ring in Texas

Bedbug Exterminators Uncover Suspected Human Trafficking Ring in Texas

A pest control company called to treat a Texas home for bedbugs uncovered an alleged human trafficking ring, leading to charges against four people.

Acting on information provided by exterminators, authorities went to the two-story brick home in Princeton, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) northeast of downtown Dallas, where they found 15 women, all between the ages of 23 and 26, according to arrest affidavits obtained by CBS News. The residence was largely empty, aside from “a large quantity of suitcases,” a single folding table and a few mattresses.

Princeton police said in a statement that they also seized “several laptops, cell phones, printers and fraudulent documents.”

According to the documents, in each room, between three and five women slept on the floor. The victims told authorities during interrogations that they thought they were doing internships to learn Java and computer programming. They said they were asked to apply for jobs and that once they got them, their salaries would be donated to a company run by the owner, Santhosh Katkoori, and his wife, Dwaraka Gunda.

Princeton Police Lt. Jesus Rodriguez said the trafficking ring was likely part of a much larger operation involving as many as 100 victims.

“We believe they may also have other homes in the area for this operation,” Rodriguez said without providing further details.

Katkoor, Gunda, Chandan Dasireddy and Anil Male were all charged this week with second-degree human trafficking in connection with the case. Arrest warrants have been issued for all four suspects.

Police said additional charges are also pending.