Organized retail theft investigation nets 2 arrests at Houston business park

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - A criminal complaint filed in Houston federal court outlines a retail theft operation accused of stealing, repackaging and distributing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of name-brand merchandise.

When federal agents executed a search warrant at GPS Wholesale on Oxford Park near Westheimer, they reported finding 147 boxes of stolen merchandise valued at $591,895.76.  

According to federal court documents, the merchandise came from places like Walgreen's and CVS and involved items like Benadryl, Bayer Aspirin, Abreva, Nexium and Tylenol.

Federal agents say the operation employed mainly undocumented immigrants as professional shoplifters called "boosters," who would "travel the United States stealing specific merchandise, e.g. over-the-counter (OTC) medications, diabetic testing supplies, shaving razors and other items."

Federal agents say the stolen goods would eventually wind up at the Oxford Park business where anti-theft stickers were removed, the products repacked and shipped to wholesale companies called "Diverters." Arrested during the search were Yasser Ouwad and Luis Garcia-Oyuela. Agents say this operation is believed to have "received, processed (cleaned) and packaged for interstate commerce approximately $1.3 million in stolen merchandise."

Garcia's attorney told KPRC he believes his client is innocent. Ouwad’s attorney told KPRC his client posted bond Friday and they would have no comment until they've had a chance to review the case.

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