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Earlier this week, we published this story on an alleged human smuggling ring operating a safe house in Escondido.

I just spoke to Sandra Elpers, who lives in Indiana. She said in March and April she stayed with her daughter on Cortez Avenue, opposite 1809 Cortez, where eight illegal immigrants were allegedly found locked up in a back room.

Elpers said she often saw suspicious comings and goings at the home across the street. Sometimes, she said, two cars would show up at the address loaded with people. She said the two cars would enter the garage and the doors would close behind them. Then the two cars would emerge, empty save for the drivers.

“I thought they were dealing drugs,” she said.

She also said the son of Tamara Dudoit, the alleged safe house operator, could often be seen loitering in front of the home, at the junction of nearby Rees Road and outside a nearby grocery store. She said she spoke to her son about what she saw.

“He just told me to be careful and to lock the doors,” Elpers said. “He said he had his eyes on these people.”


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