Authorities searching a burned house where a 19-year-old man died Jan. 6 found an assault rifle and a locked safe that held 1.4 pounds of marijuana and more than $9,000 in cash, according to a search warrant.
David Benzo Torres was found dead after the fire, which a neighbor spotted at 1409 Porchlight Court, southwest of Garner, about 4 a.m.
Torres was staying at the house temporarily with friends, officials and other friends said. No one else was home at the time of the blaze. Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Thursday that fire investigators have concluded the fire was of undetermined origin but was an accident.
A search warrant returned to the court clerk’s office said that the rifle – the semiautomatic, civilian version of the military’s M-16 rifle – was found in a closet in a bedroom used by a man named Jacob Chavez-Cabrera.
Wake County Sheriff’s Office Investigator R.M. Milholland said he and a federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent who looked into the closet saw the rifle, “a glass jar with individual bags of green, leafy substance” and the locked safe, and he asked Superior Court Judge Donald W. Stephens for permission to open it.
Stephens agreed the day after the fire, and Milholland had the safe opened the day after that, the warrant showed.
Inside the safe, according to an inventory attached to the warrant, were “one large, brown bag containing green, leafy substance, approximately 645 grams,” a clear envelope containing $9,162 in cash, and a resealable plastic bag containing three dryer sheets and a Dessicare drying pack used to remove moisture from packages.
One gram is equivalent to about 0.035 ounces. The amount in the brown bag is equivalent to a little over 1.4 pounds.
There have been no arrests in connection with the marijuana.
People who knew Torres described him as “unique” and “charismatic” and “a thinker.”
Firefighters said Torres was found in a bedroom, but it was unclear where that room was in relation to the one where Milholland said he found the gun and the safe.