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Call over bedbugs helps expose alleged trafficking ring: Report

(NewsNation) — A pest control company employee treating a Texas house for bedbugs tipped police off to what authorities say is a human trafficking operation, according to local news reports. 

After getting a call about the bedbugs at a house in Princeton, the technician arrived to the residence where he was greeted by young men who showed him around, CBS Texas reported. 

Each bedroom had three to five women were sleeping on the floor, the technician said, and there were  “a large amount of suitcases” in open areas of the house — but no furniture except folding tables and air mattresses.

The technician notified police of what he saw, and Princeton officers were dispatched to the home in March 2024 for a welfare check. 

While investigating the initial report further, police got a search warrant for the residence, which they identified as Santhosh Katkoori’s, and found 15 women living there. 

These women, police said, were forced to work for Katkoori and his wife, Dwaraka Gunda, both 31. 

Electronics, including laptops, cell phones, printers, as well as “fraudulent documents” showed that multiple locations within Princeton, Melissa, and McKinney were involved in the “forced laboring of the victims,” according to police. 

Katkoori, Gunda, Chandan Dasireddy, 24 and Anil Male, 37, were charged with trafficking of persons, a second-degree felony, in connection to the probe.

Further charges could be coming for multiple people as the investigation continues, police said. 

CBS Texas writes the suspects have been released on bond, with Katkoori requesting permission to travel the country on business.

Lt. Jesus Rodriguez told the station that since this is the Princeton Police Department’s first case like this, it is receiving help from the Department of Homeland Security.

Rodriguez said what happens to the victims will now be up to the courts, per CBS Texas. 

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