As agents were working a cargo theft case in Arlington, Texas, they discovered a secret, underground room in the back yard that housed around a hundred marijuana plants. While many states have legalized medical marijuana, Texas is not one of those states. Two suspects were taken into custody.
Investigators from the Texas Department of Public Safety received quite a surprise after they were inside of a home in Arlington, Texas. They were there to serve a warrant in a cargo theft case to the two residents of the house. When inside the home, they discovered a suspicious hole under a covering in the backyard, partially covered by a wooden deck. Upon further investigation, they found a fully operational marijuana plant farm in what officials called “a unique room under the back yard.”
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Although the Public Safety agents arrived around 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reports that it took several hours before public officials completed their investigation and the removal of what is believed to be around one hundred marijuana plants. Agents were on the scene as late as 5 p.m.
As soon as the rather sophisticated grow room was discovered in the home located on the 5800 block of Magnum Drive off of South Collins Street, the Arlington Fire Department was called in to provide assistance. While the unique room was complete with cement walls and floors, the DPS agents weren’t confident that it had been safely constructed. They were afraid the room — approximately fourteen feet by eight feet — may cave in or collapse.
The Arlington firefighters insured that the evidence was able to be gathered safely as the agents removed the plants. The brick home of the suspects was 1600 square feet. The hole that lead to secret room was about twenty feet beyond their home’s backdoor. On the wooden deck that partially covered the room were several solar panels. Investigators did not say whether or not the solar panels were being used for the grow room or simply a part of the home.
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Along with the plants removed from the secret room, several boxes were removed from the home. Sgt. Lonny Haschel wouldn’t reveal whether the boxes were related to the marijuana or the theft charges.
The residents of the Arlington home were Tri Vo, age 31 and Jlicia Perry, age 26, as noted by ABC affiliate WFAA. They were arrested for the cargo theft charges that originally brought the DPS to their home, and were then taken to Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth. Additional charges are likely to follow, although Sgt. Haschel couldn’t comment on that.
Photographs were made available by the WFAA helicopters that were reporting on the scene.
The hole that lead to the room was approximately nine-feet deep. A ladder was in place to navigate down the hole. Once inside the room, Haschel said they determined it was about eight feet tall and 14-feet wide. It was set up with working electricity as well.
While 100 marijuana plants may sound like a lot to some, Haschel indicated otherwise. Officials could not provide an estimated dollar value of the plants at the scene. Haschel called the underground farm a “relatively small operation.”
It is possible that the suspects that were arrested for the cargo theft were not aware of the marijuana grow operation in the backyard. If they were renting the property, it’s possible they never knew about anything that existed under the deck. The DPS had not determined wherther or not Vo and Perry were renters or owners of the home.
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