Bedbug exterminators uncover suspected human trafficking ring in Texas

A pest control company called in to treat a Texas home for bedbugs uncovered a suspected human trafficking ring, resulting in charges being brought against four people.

Upon receiving a tip from the exterminators, authorities responded to the two-story brick house in Princeton — about 45 miles 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 mostly empty otherwise, aside from “a large amount of suitcases,” a single folding table and a few mattresses.

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

In each bedroom, there were between three and five women sleeping on the floor, according to the documents. The victims told authorities during interviews that they believed they were working internships to learn Java scripting and computer programming. They said they were instructed to apply for jobs and, once they got them, would have their salaries paid to a company run by the homeowner, Santhosh Katkoori, and his wife, Dwaraka Gunda.

Princeton Police Lt. Jesus Rodriguez said the trafficking ring is likely part of a much bigger operation with as many as 100 victims.

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

Katkoor, Gunda, Chandan Dasireddy and Anil Male, were each 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.