Affidavit: Paid sexual encounter leads to robbery of man at Tyler home

Affidavit: Paid sexual encounter leads to robbery of man at Tyler home
Pictured are Tanya Gargas (left) and Henry Willis. (Source: Smith County Jail)

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Law enforcement officers have arrested two suspects in connection with an incident in which a prostitute allegedly lured one of her customers to an “abandoned dope house” after they had sex, so two men could rob the victim at gunpoint.

Tanya Rene Gargus, 40, of Hawkins, and Henry Calvin Willis, 39, of Tyler, are both still being held in the Smith County Jail. They were each charged with aggravated robbery.

Gargus’ bond amount was set at $250,000, and Willis’ bond was set at $750,000.

According to the arrest affidavit, a Smith County Sheriff’s Office deputy took the robbery report from the victim on March 28, and the case was later turned over to the SCSO detective that investigated the case.

According to the affidavit, the victim hired a prostitute, took her to a room at the Lone Star Inn, and had sex with her. After the man left the hotel room, the woman contacted him and asked him to return to the same room at the Lone Star Inn.

The victim did so, and he returned to the Lone Star In at about 7 a.m. on March 28. At that point, the woman asked the victim to take her to an ‘abandoned dope house” located in the 5000 block of Linwood Street in Tyler, the affidavit stated.

When the victim pulled into the driveway at the residence, a green or blue van occupied by a white man and a black man pulled in behind his vehicle, the affidavit stated. The black man was allegedly holding a “black subcompact rifle” when he and the other man approached the victim’s vehicle.

The victim told the SCSO deputy that the black man pointed the rifle at his head, put his forearm across his neck, and told him not to move, the affidavit stated. The white suspect allegedly took the gun to the van and came back.

At that point, the black suspect pushed the victim toward the center console of his vehicle, and the second suspect ripped the victim’s phone and wallet from his pocket, tearing the pocket, the affidavit stated. Then the two suspects allegedly left the scene.

At about 11:05 p.m. on March 28, the SCSO detective went to the Lone Star Inn and got consent to search the room that the victim and the prostitute had been in, the affidavit stated. The detective found a receipt from the Dollar General store located at 2724 Gentry Parkway with a time and date stamp of March 27 at 2:22 p.m.

The SCSO detective watched the security video for that date and time and spotted a woman matching the description of the one that was described by the victim in the store’s beauty aisle, the affidavit stated.

Later, the SCSO detective spotted a Honda van matching the description of the one that pulled in behind the victim’s vehicle in the parking lot of the Oyo Hotel in Tyler. It was occupied by a woman with tattoos on her face that matched the victim’s description, the affidavit stated

While the detective was waiting for an SCSO deputy to show up to assist with a “knock and talk,” spotted the Honda van again. This time, it was unoccupied and parked at the Walmart on State Highway 64 in Tyler.

Later the SCSO detective noticed a woman with tattoos on her face and a black man, who were later identified as Gargus and Willis, get into the van, the affidavit stated. He and a deputy followed the van to the gas station in the Walmart parking lot.

When the SCSO detective spoke to the two people, Gargus allegedly admitted that she met with the victim on March 27, called him back to the Lone Star Inn the next, and asked him to take her to a friend’s residence to buy “weed.” Gargus also told the detective that while she was in the house, Willis and the other man used a long gun to rob the victim, the affidavit stated.

“Gargus advised that she did not know who the white male was,” the affidavit stated.

According to the affidavit, the SCSO detective learned of a similar robbery that occurred at the Pilot Travel Center on FM 14 in Tyler on March 14. Gargus and a man matching Willis’ description were captured on surveillance video, the affidavit stated.

Willis told the detective that he was in the van from 7 to 10 a.m. on March 27 and that he let his roommate borrow at that point, the affidavit stated. Willis said that he went to the store, a car wash, and the hotel where Gargus had been staying, the affidavit stated.

Willis has a lengthy criminal record, according to the affidavit. It stated that he was convicted of the following offenses:

  • Burglary of a habitation - May 3, 2001, Tarrant County
  • Aggravated robbery - May 13, 2003, Tarrant County
  • Robbery - June 24, 2011, Tarrant County
  • Assault with a deadly weapon - June 24, 2011, Tarrant County
  • Possession of a controlled substance - June 16, 2014, Wood County
  • Possession of a controlled substance - September 10, 2007, Wood County
  • Possession of a controlled substance in a school zone - February 17, 2011, Smith County

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