Pictured: Douglas Nichols

Contents seized total more than $450,000, police say

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

The Alice Police Department got an early start on trick-or-treating Wednesday afternoon, when officers executed a search warrant on a home in the 300 block of Third Street.

One person in the home, identified as Douglas Nichols, was arrested without a struggle, police said.

SWAT Team officers with the Alice Police Department, the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department and the Department of Public Safety executed the "no-knock" warrant on the home shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Officers at the scene said team members used a battering ram to break down the door of the residence, and used a "flash bang" explosive device to disorient the homeowner while members entered the residence.

Alice Police Chief Danny Bueno said Wednesday a search of the residence revealed more than $150,000 in stolen items, $309,000 in cash, drug paraphernalia, and small amounts of marijuana and cocaine.

Stolen items included generators, televisions and power tools, among other items.

Some of the money recovered from the home included containers of coins weighing between 100 and 200 pounds. Bueno said those coins may be linked to thefts from several coin-operated machines in the area.

Bueno said the raid, which was conducted in a residential area, was timed to occur before school let out and children would be on the streets for Halloween. Bueno also said the precautions taken in entering the building were needed because of information that Nichols had several loaded firearms in the home.

"We felt there might have been a threat," Bueno said. "We were told there were rifles and they were loaded."

Several loaded rifles and handguns were removed from the residence.

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating those firearms.

Bueno said the operation was the result of a six-month investigation, and upon initial inspection stolen items could be linked to at least 15 burglaries that have occurred in the area in the past year.

"This is one of the biggest recoveries of stolen merchandise since I have been here," Bueno said. "This is a big disruption to the burglaries that have occurred in our area."

Nichols has been charged with possession of stolen property, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and illegal possession of a firearm.