Meat theft ring blamed for $9M in losses across Midwest
"This highly sophisticated Organized Criminal Enterprise is based out of Miami, Florida and has been targeting beef and pork packaging plants in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin," federal officials said.
FARGO — An investigation into stolen truckloads of frozen beef has revealed a vast criminal enterprise responsible for 45 thefts in Nebraska, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, totaling $9 million in losses.
The investigation started when the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office in Lincoln, Nebraska, began looking into several thefts of semitrailers and loads of frozen beef, according to a statement issued Tuesday, Oct. 25, by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
In the initial investigation, the estimated loss was $1 million. But since June 2021, Lancaster County and federal investigators have identified 45 thefts across the Upper Midwest with $9 million in losses.
"This highly sophisticated Organized Criminal Enterprise is based out of Miami, Florida and has been targeting beef and pork packaging plants in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin," the DHS said. Which plants were targeted was not immediately known.
The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol, with help from federal investigators, recently arrested three "principal targets" in the theft ring and recovered three tractor trailers with stolen merchandise worth $550,000.
The three people arrested were Yoslany Leyva Del Sol, 38; Ledier Machin Andino, 37; and Delvis L. Fuentes, 39. They are all from the Miami area.
The three were arrested under federal laws pertaining to transporting stolen goods and money laundering, the DHS said. The investigation is ongoing.