86 detained at human stash house in eastern Edinburg

Posted: Monday, December 30, 2013 6:03 pm
Daniella Diaz | The Monitor

EDINBURG — Authorities Friday detained 86 immigrants who had entered the country illegally and were living in a human stash house southwest of University Drive and North Alamo Road in eastern Edinburg, according to court documents.

While conducting surveillance on the house at 7122 Curve Road, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Hidalgo County Constable’s Office and Border Patrol watched a red 2000 Lincoln Navigator leave the house and fail to yield at a stop sign, court documents show.

The driver, Lorenzo Antonio Zavala, was cited for not having a driver license and was detained and questioned by HSI agents. He did not provide a statement to the agents.

Agents were issued a federal search and seizure warrant and discovered 86 immigrants who’d entered the country illegally inside and outside the residence, court documents show.

Mexican national Melquiades Sanchez-Zenteno was arrested when agents searched the property and told them he was the caretaker of the immigrants at the residence for the past month.

Court documents state that Sanchez-Zenteno said he was in charge of telling the immigrants when to remain quiet, when to cook and in what rooms they could be inside the house. He stated Zavala drove him to get groceries, clothing and blankets whenever they were needed.

He also said Zavala dropped off a GPS that would be given to the walking guides in the immigrant “smuggling organization,” court document stated.

According to court documents, other witnesses also confirmed Sanchez-Zenteno’s statements