Crime and Courts

15 women rescued from Collin County trafficking operation after tip from pest control company

Police say both women and men were forced to work as programmers for a couple's shell companies

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Police in Princeton on Monday announced they'd uncovered a large labor trafficking operation in Collin County earlier this spring while responding to a welfare call.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by NBC 5, Princeton police said a pest control company called to treat bed bugs at a home on the 1000 block of Ginsburg Lane on March 13 reported a "suspicious circumstance" and requested a welfare check.

During the investigation into the report, Princeton police obtained a search warrant for Santhosh Katkoori's home. Once inside the house, police discovered 15 adult women who they said were forced to work for several shell companies owned by Katkoori and his wife, Dwaraka Gunda.

Investigators said the victims, which included both women and men, were working as programmers and that during the search of the home on Ginsburg Lane, several laptops, phones, printers, and fraudulent documents were seized.

Princeton police said they later learned multiple locations in the cities of Princeton, Melissa, and McKinney were involved in the forced labor operation and that they later seized more laptops, phones, and documents from other locations.

The police statement did not include the addresses of those other locations or details about the nature of the programming work done for the couple's alleged shell companies.

An arrest affidavit obtained by NBC 5 said Princeton police were tipped off to the operation by Arrow Pest Control who had been called to the house to treat bed bugs. After leaving the house, the technician reported what he saw inside the home, and that information was relayed to the police. In an interview with detectives, the tech confirmed he'd seen 15-20 young women sleeping on bed rolls in various rooms. He also said he saw many suitcases in the living area and no furniture in the home other than folding tables.

According to the affidavit, the women inside the home later told police they were brought to Princeton for an "internship" where they would apply for jobs and learn Javascript. Police said once the girls obtained a job, the money from those jobs went directly to the homeowner's company. The homeowner, police said, held back 20% of the money the women earned and then gave them the remainder.

Princeton police said Monday, after investigators conducted an analysis of all of the electronics seized and the nature of the operation was confirmed, they issued arrest warrants for four people now charged with trafficking of persons, a second-degree felony.

Police identified the suspects as 31-year-old Santhosh Katkoori, of Melissa; 31-year-old Dwaraka Gunda, of Melissa; 24-year-old Chandan Dasireddy, of Melissa; and 37-year-old Anil Male, of Prosper. It's unclear if any of the four charged have obtained attorneys to speak on their behalf.

Princeton police said further charges of multiple parties are still pending as this investigation continues. Anyone with information about the labor trafficking operation or who was a victim of human/labor trafficking is asked to call the Princeton Police Department at 972-736-3901 or dial 911 immediately.

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