26 people were found in a house in Houston, which police believe is part of a suspected smuggling operation
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Nearly thirty people have been found in a suspected smuggling operation after a man ran down the street in his underpants yelling he'd been kidnapped.
Police in southwest Houston, Texas, US, were alerted to reports at around 6pm on Thursday of the man before raiding a home in Raven Ridge Drive and rescuing approximately 25 men and one woman.
As officers approached the home they reportedly heard a loud bang.
"That’s a pretty significant number for us to encounter," said Commander Jonathon Halliday, of the Houston Police Department.
Neighbours brought clothes for the captives – most of whom were also half-naked – as officers escorted them outside.
Police are awaiting immigration officials to join them at the scene
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Most of the people found inside the property reportedly told police they were being held against their will.
The victims were not bound but had been locked inside the house, with officers finding boarded up windows, as well as food, reports ABC13.
People were in every room of the three-bedroom house, as well as in the attic, say police.
They have now been taken to nearby Ridgemont Elementary School for shelter and medical treatment.
Police were awaiting immigration authorities to arrive on the scene.
One person is understood to have been arrested
The initial man said he had been kidnapped by someone armed with a revolver, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Reports claim three people have been detained at the scene.
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.
Footage from the scene shows some people in their underwear in handcuffs, with police trying to decipher who is a suspect and who's a victim.
"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," said a Houston Police spokesman at the scene.
"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.