Investigators who stumbled onto an underground marijuana-growing operation Wednesday also seized truckloads of items believed to have been stolen from shipping companies across Texas, according to search warrant affidavits obtained Friday.
The discovery of 100 marijuana plants in a bunker under the deck of the house initially got the most attention.
But authorities also confiscated more than 360 pairs of Nike shoes, more than 400 Home Medics body massagers, more than 260 Otter Box cellphone cases, guns, televisions, computers, cash and numerous other electronic goods, the Texas Department of Public Safety reported.
Two people were arrested at the house in the 5800 block of Magnum Drive off South Collins Street.
Tri Vo, 31, and Jlicia Perry, 26, were taken to the Grand Prairie Jail. They each face charges of cargo theft over $200,000, engaging in organized criminal activity and possession of marijuana between 4 ounces and 5 pounds, said Sgt. Lonny Haschel, a DPS spokesman.
Vo and Perry had been released on bail from the Grand Prairie Jail by Saturday morning, according to jail officials.
Investigators were at the Magnum Drive residence tracking a theft from a FedEx shipping facility in Amarillo that occurred between Oct. 17 and 18, a search warrant affidavit said. The stolen merchandise included 280 Lenovo computers and accessories valued at $130,000 and a Hewlett Packard Envy desktop computer, the affidavit said.
An investigator purchased the stolen HP Envy from eBay for about $560, the affidavit said. The PayPal account used to complete the transaction was traced back to Tri Vo, the affidavit said.
On Nov. 15, 40 Dell desktop computers valued at about $30,000 and 100 cases of Sweet’N Low were stolen from a semi-trailer parked at an SAIA Motor Freight lot in Wichita Falls, the affidavit said.
A security agent with SAIA purchased a Dell desktop from eBay that matched the ones that were stolen, and DPS lab technicians verified that the computer was one of those taken from Wichita Falls, the affidavit said.
An employee at the FedEx Amarillo facility reported to police that 58 trailers at the lot had been rifled at the time of the theft, and a truck FedEx rented from Ryder was missing, the affidavit said.
Amarillo police obtained security video showing four thieves who appeared to have cut the fence around the lot to get inside. A pair of bolt cutters was found at the Magnum Drive house, the affidavit said.
On Jan 14, a DPS investigator searched the trash at the Magnum Drive residence and located multiple serial number stickers that matched computers from the thefts in Wichita Falls and Amarillo, the affidavit said.
Investigators were at the Magnum Drive house executing a search warrant in the theft cases when they found an underground room about 20 feet from the back door under a deck, Haschel said. After climbing down a ladder already there, agents found an area about 14 feet wide and 8 feet high containing about 100 marijuana plants. The underground area had concrete floors, concrete walls and electricity, he said.
Investigators also searched an Arlington residence in the 200 block of Miramar Drive and seized paperwork and two Dell computers, one with its identification tag removed, the affidavit said. Authorities said they believed Tri Vo was in control of the Miramar property as well, according to the affidavit.
The investigators were looking for property taken from a United Parcel Service theft Oct. 3 in Beaumont, an affidavit said. Vacuum cleaners valued at $138,000 were taken. An investigator tracked the purchase of one of the stolen vacuum cleaners to a man who bought it on eBay, the affidavit said.
Another vacuum cleaner on eBay was identified as having been stolen in Fayetteville, Ark. It was purchased by a DPS investigator. Both traced back to Tri Vo, who had at least seven eBay accounts that he used to sell merchandise, the affidavit said.
Investigators also seized property at a residence in the 2300 block of Wise Road in Grand Prairie associated with Tri Vo and another suspect. The other suspect had currency deposits in his PayPal account of more than $398,000, the affidavit said.
At the Wise Road house, items believed to be stolen included 43 cases of Enfamil baby formula, an embossing machine and a dozen hair straighteners, the affidavit said.