ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Deputies with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office arrested a 57-year-old Pasadena man on a felony charge Tuesday in connection to a large indoor marijuana growing operation that was discovered at a house on Cheeseland Road back in March.
Loi Van Nguyen is still being held in the Angelina County jail on a third-degree felony possession of marijuana between five and 50 pounds charge. No bail amount has been set at this time.
According to the arrest affidavit, a special agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety's Criminal Investigation Division, was contacted by the Angelina County Sheriff's Office about a suspected indoor marijuana grow located at a house in the 2400 block of Cheeseland Road on March 7.
When the DPS special agent met two ACSO deputies at the scene, they told him they had been dispatched to the home after electrical utility employees made a report of suspicious activity. The electrical utility employees told the law enforcement officers that they had been investigating an illegal electrical tap, where someone at the residence was stealing power and bypassing the meter.
"[The ACSO deputy] stated that the electrical utility employees were worried for the personal safety due to the numerous power cords and wires that were going into the windows of the residence, and they suspicioned illegal activity inside the residence."
The ACSO deputy told the DPS special agent that he noticed raw marijuana in a flower pot on the porch, the affidavit stated. He also said that he heard fans running inside the closed garage and smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the home.
According to the arrest affidavit, there were also numerous marijuana plants under heat lamps inside the residence located in plain view from a back window. The law enforcement officers also noticed evidence of an indoor marijuana grow in the home and in a metal shed located behind the house.
The DPS special agent also noticed electrical wires, water hoses, and box fans, numerous bags of fertilizer stacked around the house and the metal shed, numerous empty pots, and small amounts of raw, harvested marijuana in pots on the front porch, the affidavit stated.
At that point, the law enforcement officers sought and obtained a search warrant for the property in the evening of March 7.
They also contacted the Angelina County Appraisal District and learned that Nguyen was listed as the owner of the property.
When the Angelina County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant on the property, they found marijuana plants under artificial lights in the three bedrooms, the utility room, the garage, and the outdoor shed, the affidavit stated. The DPS special agent also found harvested marijuana plants in the living room closet, along with several small containers of dried marijuana.
In all, authorities removed 578 marijuana plants from the home, garage, and shed.
According to the affidavit, DPS special agents also removed cultivation equipment that included 44 electrical ballasts, 55 light hoods, one backpack sprayer, a portable air conditioner, and assorted UVA light bulbs. The equipment were all destroyed on March 9.
During the search of the home in the 2400 block of Cheeseland Road, the DPS special agents found numerous medicine bottles and items of mail that had Nguyen's name and the Cheeseland Road address on them, the affidavit stated.
On May 4, the DPS special agent completed the drying process and separated the leaves from the stalks of the marijuana plants, and the total combined weight of the marijuana came to about 8 pounds, the affidavit stated. The marijuana was then sent to the DPS Crime Lab in Tyler for analysis.
Angelina County court documents show Nguyen has a case in civil court for seizure of property including the house, multiple out buildings, 4.23 acres of land and four firearms. No court dates have been set yet.