Welfare check uncovers forced labor operation that spans several towns with over 50 victims; four suspects arrested so far

COLLIN COUNTY, TX - Officers with the Princeton Police Department (PPD) were dispatched to a home after someone reported a welfare concern and a "suspicious circumstance," which resulted in police uncovering a large labor trafficking operation.

According to NBC 5, the home was located on the 1000 block of Ginsburg Lane and the incident occurred back on March 13th. After arriving on scene and doing an initial investigation, Princeton police obtained a search warrant for the home, which was owned by Santhosh Katkoori. Upon searching the home, police found 15 adult women who they said were forced to work for several shell companies owned by Katkoori and his wife, Dwaraka Gunda.

FOX 4 reported that the women were forced to sleep on the floor and that there was basically no furniture inside of the home, only a bunch of computer electronics and blankets. The affidavit reportedly states that a pest control company was called to the home for possible bed bugs. Once inside, the inspected noticed that "each room ... had 3-5 young females sleeping on the floors. There were also large amounts of suitcases."

Investigators said that the victims, which included both men and women, were working as programmers and that during the search of the home, several laptops, phones, printers, and fraudulent documents were seized by the police as evidence. As the investigation continued, PPD said that they later learned of multiple locations in the cities of Princeton, Melissa, and McKinney all of which were involved in the forced labor operation. Police later seized additional laptops, phones, and documents from those other locations.

PPD Sgt. Carolyn Crawford said that dozens of more people are involved. She said, "I can probably say over 100. Easily." Of those 100 people, more than half are victims. 

On Monday, July 8th, PPD said that after investigators conducted an analysis of all the electronics seized and the nature of the operation was confirmed, they issued arrest warrants for four people. Those four have now been charged with trafficking of persons, which in the state of Texas, is a second-degree felony.

The four suspects have been identified as 31-year-old Santhosh Katkoori; 31-year-old Dwaraka Gunda, both of Melissa; 24-year-old Chandan Dasireddy, of Melissa; and 37-year-old Anil Male, of Prosper. PPD said that further charges of multiple parties are still pending as the investigation remains ongoing.

PPD Chief James Waters said that his team has been working leads with federal investigators for months. He said, "How we came across this situation was very unique. They would unravel just a multitude of other clues and a multitude of other scenes that was going on out there." Neighbors to the home were stunned to learn of the trafficking operation.

Neighbor Steve Watkins said, "What was going on before we even moved in here? It's kind of really dark to think about. We had no idea about anything." Neighbor Herbert Logan added, "I would've never thought that something like this was going on like a few houses down from mine."
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