Authorities raided a squalid house Friday, capturing 70 illegal immigrants and four suspected smugglers believed to have been holding migrants hostage while awaiting payment.
Federal agents and a sheriff’s SWAT team entered the home before dawn, setting off flash-bang grenades to stun any smugglers inside.
Packed into the grimy one-story bungalow were 70 people from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Mexico. Some slept 20 to a room, authorities said.
“It was squalor, absolute squalor. Bug infestations, trash on the floor,” said Frank Johnston, an agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.