What is a stash house?
Smugglers use stash houses to hide guns, drugs, money, or aliens from police. Notably, stash houses can be apartments, hotels, houses, and RVs. In other words, a stash house can be any place used by criminals to hide contraband or people.
How do police find stash houses?
Police look for telltale signs that someone is operating a stash house. These signs include:
- odd traffic patterns at apartments, motels, and homes;
- large numbers of people arriving and leaving from the house;
- strong chemical odors; and
- yards that are not maintained.
On top of that, Texas offers a rewards program for information that helps police find stash or trap house. Through this program, Texas can pay tipsters up to $5,000.00 for information that results in a stash-house bust. Further, this program also pays tipsters for information on meth labs and pill-press operations. In sum, Texas pays people a reward for snitching.
Is it a crime to operate a Stash House in Texas?
In 2019, Texas made it a crime to operate a stash house. Specifically, Texas Penal Code § 20.07 bans using a house, motel, or apartment with the intent to:
Finally, it is also a crime to rent a house, apartment, or hotel to anyone with the intent to use it for one of the reasons listed above.
What are the penalties for operating a stash house in Texas?
Operating a stash house is a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties are:
- 0-1 year in jail; and
- a fine range of $0.00-$4,000.00.
But the final penalty will depend on the facts of your case. Finally, you also have a right to fight your case if you believe you are innocent or if police arrested you without cause.
Criminal Defense Attorney Genaro R. Cortez.