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Optometrist, husband arrested after B&E report uncovers alleged pot grow house

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A Wilmington optometrist and her husband face several drug charges after police say they found a marijuana "grow" operation in the couple's basement.

WPD officers received a call of a breaking and entering in progress at 2306 Market Street at about 2:08 p.m. yesterday. When officers arrived, the resident, Dr. Sheila Cooper, told them she came home for lunch and found a back window open. When she entered the house, she heard noise upstairs so she went outside and called police.

Officers searched the house for any possible intruders. During the search, they found what appeared to be a marijuana growing operation in the basement. WPD's Narcotics Enforcement Unit was notified, and detectives secured a search warrant for the house.

During their search, detectives say they recovered approximately one pound of dried and processed marijuana in various states of preparation, as well as an indoor grow tent, lights, ventilation, storage containers and smoking devices. They also recovered two long guns.

Sheila Cassioli Cooper, who an online search shows is an optometrist affiliated with Lenscrafters at Independence Mall, and her husband, John Bailey Owen Cooper were both charged with the following possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, felony possession of marijuana, manufacture of marijuana, maintaining a dwelling for drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.

John Cooper is also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon.

Dr. Cooper was not at her office this afternoon when WWAY called for comment, and we were told she would not be back today. She has not yet returned our call.

Sheila Cooper was placed under $5,000 secured bond, while John Cooper's bond was set at $10,000. Both posted bond and were released.

Anyone with additional information about this case is asked to call WPD's Narcotics Enforcement Unit at (910) 343-3689.

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