DPS: Rental homes being used as stash houses

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:39 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Stash houses along border towns have been an issue for years now, but as law enforcement conducts different investigations on these homes, they have found a recent trend. This trend has affected those renting their homes.

Day after day, it seems like stash houses are discovered very often. In these homes, they find anywhere from undocumented immigrants, drugs, and weapons. However, some of these homes being investigated are rental properties.

Sergeant Erick Estrada with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) said, ”One of the things I have been seeing more often is that rental properties are being used as stash houses.” He says each case varies on who is involved in the crime. ”For the most part, what we found in these specific cases is the landlords are not directly involved. It’s directly with the tenant, with whoever is renting the property,” said Sgt. Estrada.

DPS tells people they should be aware of who is living in their rental properties. These are some red flags landlords should look for before renting their home: tenants paying in cash and offering multiple payments in advance.

Now, how can you protect yourself from a crime happening on your rental property? Real estate broker Cesar Martinez says property owners should seek assistance before renting. ”We screen all prospects or tenants. We check credit. We do an eviction check and a police report,” said Martinez. This is done through an application process that is required for each person living in the home to fill out.

However, Martinez says those who are more affected are rented by owners that don’t go through this screening process. As for the homes now under investigation, the owner would have to present all paperwork to the authorities. They recommend to landlords to be careful and aware of who their tenants are.

DPS continues to tell the public about the $5,000 reward for reporting stash houses. You can report suspicious activity in the I-Watch TX app or at Crime Stoppers at 800-252-TIPS.

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