3 Florida Men Arrested in Meat Theft Ring
Three Florida men, Yoslany Leyva Del Sol, Ledier Machin Andino and Delvis Fuentes, all from the Miami, Florida area, are facing charges of money laundering and transportation of stolen goods, according to officials with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The men are the alleged ringleaders behind what is being described as a Florida-based “highly sophisticated organized criminal enterprise” that is targeting beef and pork packaging plants in the Midwest.
The investigation into the multimillion-dollar theft ring began in June after several semi-trailers with loads of frozen beef valued at an estimated $1 million were stolen from areas near Grand Island and Lincoln in Nebraska’s Lancaster County. The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office worked with HSI’s Omaha field office to identify approximately 45 thefts that have occurred since June 2021 across Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. The thefts totaled over $9 million.
Trailers of meat products were stolen by the gang. https://t.co/v7W5zRZOCV
— FORTUNE (@FortuneMagazine) October 27, 2022
Where’s the beef?🥩 https://t.co/zlDbOQ0ROA
— Josh Mankiewicz (@JoshMankiewicz) October 27, 2022
Stolen meat: Florida men charged for meat theft ring across Midwest. https://t.co/ApmJYwYKMS
— John Burns (@Jwburnsy1968) October 27, 2022
According to the criminal complaint, federal investigators used phone records and GPS tracking devices on trucks being driven by the men from Miami which placed the men in and around meatpacking plants where trailers of meat products were stolen.
Investigators determined that the Miami men were responsible for the thefts and, on Oct. 20, identified and arrested three prime suspects, Del Sol, Andino and Fuentes. As they were being taken into custody in Miami, investigators also recovered three tractor trailers with stolen merchandise valued at $550,000, according to HSI.
The complaints don’t say what the three did with the stolen meat. Lancaster County Sheriff’s Capt. Michael Peschong said Wednesday that officials are still investigating those details.
“We haven’t nailed down the exact details on where all the meat stole ended up yet,” Peschong said.
“This investigation is ongoing and part of the HSI Omaha and Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Task Force,” HSI said in a statement Tuesday, announcing the arrests.
Lopez was released on bond and plans to plead not guilty. Del Sol’s bond hearing has been set and he also plans to plead not guilty. Andino’s expected plea is unknown at this time.
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