A human trafficking case has emerged in Princeton, North Texas, involving four men accused of forcing women into labor under the guise of computer programming internships.

The suspects, including a couple and two other men, have been charged with second-degree human trafficking after authorities discovered 15 women living in poor conditions and working for shell companies. The Indian-origin men – Santosh Katkuri, Dwarka Ganda, Chandan Dasireddy, and Anil Malle – were charged on July 8.

According to US court documents obtained by the Dallas-based television station. WFAAThree of the four suspects claim to be citizens of India.

How was the smuggling operation detected?

The case began when a local pest control company received a call to treat bed bugs in a two-story brick home on Ginsburg Lane. The technician saw young men showing him around the house where three to five women were sleeping on the floor in each bedroom.

The house had minimal furniture, with only a folding table, an air mattress, and several suitcases in open spaces.

Acting on a tip from a pest control company about suspicious behavior, Princeton police conducted a welfare check on March 13 and found 15 women, ages 23 to 26, living inside the home.

How was the smuggling operation being run?

According to arrest affidavits and police statements, the women were under the impression they were participating in internships to learn JavaScript or computer programming.

However, these internships were a facade. Women applied for jobs and, once hired, their salaries were paid to a company run by Katkuri and Ganda, who took a 20 percent cut before passing the rest on to the women.

“In my 20 years of living in Princeton, nothing has happened to this extent or anything along these lines that I’m aware of,” Princeton Police Chief James Waters told local media.

The investigation revealed that the operation involved possibly around 100 victims and had been going on for three to five years. Several locations were included in Princeton, Melissa, McKinney, and other areas of Collin County.

Were there any arrests?

On July 8, Santosh Katkuri, 31, Dwarka Gunda, 31, Chandan Dasireddy, 24, and Anil Malle, 37, were formally charged with second-degree human trafficking.

Police obtained a search warrant for the residence and discovered numerous laptops, cell phones, printers and forged documents. The items have been seized and are being studied by the US Department of Homeland Security.

Additional laptops, cellphones and documents were seized from other locations, as it was later determined that multiple locations within Princeton, Melissa and McKinney were the victims, a Princeton PD press release said. were involved in forced labour, including adult men. .

According to the affidavits, the women told police that Dasiredi had picked them up at the airport because she had an internship to learn JavaScript coding.

Instead, they are forced to work for various programming shell companies owned by Katakuri and Ganda, who live in squalid conditions, sleeping five to eight in a room on mats, blankets, or a single air mattress. .

How was the legal action?

The suspects, who have been released on bond, face charges that could carry between two and 20 years in prison if convicted.

Katakuri’s attorney, Jeremy Rosenthal, dismissed the police claims of forced labor, telling local media, “These workers are in the IT field and there is nothing about it that is forced labor. The Princeton Police Department has ‘shot first.’ Maru, the latter has adopted the objective.

Rosenthal said the arrests were made in haste. “As a simple example, they claimed to have seized the computers, studied the details of the operation, then made the arrests. But they arrested Katkuri the same day they seized the computers — and the original complaint. Just one day later.

He maintained that his client is innocent of human trafficking and expects more inconsistencies to emerge as the case proceeds.

Is the investigation over?

The Princeton Police Department, with assistance from state and federal agencies, continues to investigate the case. Police suspect that there are more houses in the area linked to this smuggling operation and more victims are yet to be identified.

Lt. Jesus Rodriguez of the Princeton Police Department was quoted as saying. CBS News, Saying: “This is very new to us, so we are working on it,” highlighting the department’s first encounter with a case of this nature.

The women found at the Ginsburg Lane House have been granted relief, but their future is uncertain as it will be determined by the courts. Additional charges against multiple parties are pending as the investigation continues to unfold.

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With input from agencies

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