Illegal Immigrants Allegedly Held Hostage, Beaten in Houston Home

Three Texas men are accused of holding illegal immigrants hostage in a Houston home until their families paid thousands to get them released, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Victims told federal agents they were stashed at a house where armed guards would threaten them, beat them and force them to remove their clothes so they wouldn't leave.

Some victims told authorities they sometimes were fed a single slice of pizza once a week, the Chronicle reported.

Federal agents raided the house Aug. 29 after receiving a tip from a Virginia woman, who said her brother had paid smugglers to bring him to the U.S., but that she was being forced to pay more for him to be released.

They found 11 men, who had all been illegally smuggled into the country, the Chronicle reported. Arrested in the bust were Alex Julco, a permanent U.S. resident, and two Mexican citizens, Rigoberto Jaimes-Vargas and Francisco Gomez.

Julco was know to the captives as "El Diablo," which means "the devil" in Spanish. He told investigators a man called "El Pelon" had rented a room from him in mid-August, and the illegal immigrants were stashed there, the newspaper reported, and when Julco complained, he was given more money.

Jaimes-Vargas and Francisco Gomez, meanwhile, reportedly were paid to guard the captives.

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