Forget Banks: Feds Say $9 Million In Meat Stolen by These Guys

Emerald, Nebraska, a place where tranquility is the norm and the unexpected is rare, became the focal point of an unusual crime. Two semi-trailers filled with beef disappeared without a trace.

The value of this missing beef was a significant $400,000. But, that’s not everything that was missing.

The Initial Theft

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On a typical day in Emerald, Nebraska, the townsfolk were met with a surprise. The beef, which was supposed to be securely transported, was nowhere to be found.

As the local authorities dug into the mystery, they realized this wasn’t an isolated incident. The theft had taken place in June, and the two semi-trailers were taken from a lot in Emerald.

The Trail Leads to Miami

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The investigation took a turn when it pointed towards Miami, Florida. Unlike Emerald, Miami is a city of hustle and bustle, known for its vibrant life and diverse culture. Here, three men were identified as the primary suspects.

Once the authorities pieced together the puzzle of the vanished meat, they discovered a systematic operation led by the three men from Florida. These individuals, identified as Yoslany Leyva Del Sol, Ledier Machin Andino, and Delvis L. Fuentes, all hailing from Miami, were implicated in approximately 45 incidents of meat and equipment theft over 18 months.

It’s believed they pilfered a staggering $9 million worth of goods from beef and pork processing facilities in the Midwest. On Oct. 20, they were apprehended in Florida, facing charges tied to recent thefts.

For over a week, law enforcement agencies, spearheaded by Homeland Security Investigations, pursued them through various states. Upon their capture, officers discovered trucks loaded with stolen ham and pork.

A Well-Planned Operation

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The trio’s strategy was meticulous. In today’s age, where digital security and advanced surveillance are paramount, they targeted an industry that might be perceived as less guarded. Their deep understanding of the meat industry and their planning allowed them to operate without immediate detection.

They identified vulnerabilities, possibly used diversions and ensured that each theft left minimal evidence. By the time the pattern was recognized, they had already executed multiple heists.

Here is a breakdown of how they got caught.

The court documents didn’t specify what happened to the stolen beef and pork or if the men sold it. However, the evidence was clear. In June, after the theft of frozen beef from the Nebraska plant, cellphone data pointed to Fuentes, Del Sol, and Andino. Their phones were located at the theft site, and security cameras spotted them at a nearby truck yard.

Federal agents got a warrant and started tracking their phones. Two weeks later, the three men drove from Miami to Tennessee, as mentioned in the complaint. By Oct. 13, they entered Iowa. Here, without their knowledge, authorities put GPS trackers on their trucks. They moved through trailer-truck lots and finally reached Sioux Falls, S.D. the next day.

That same night, a company in Sioux Falls reported 19 pallets of ham missing. The GPS showed Del Sol’s trailer at the theft location and another spot where the empty stolen trailer was found later.

The next day, they were in Worthington, Minn. First, a warehouse reported two semi-tractors and three pallet jacks stolen. Later, two trailers, each filled with 22 pallets of pork worth $150,000, were reported missing from a meat company. The GPS placed the three men at both locations, and then they were on their way back to Miami.

About two days later, around 2 a.m. on Oct. 18, a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer stopped Fuentes. Inside the trailer, the officer found 19 pallets of ham with labels matching the stolen items from Sioux Falls.

Fuentes showed a bill of lading to prove he had the goods legally, but it had errors. The officer gave Fuentes a ticket for not being registered to transport goods but let him go. The men kept driving, watched by the police, until they got to Florida on Oct. 20.

After leaving a highway in Florida, state troopers stopped Fuentes, who showed the bill of lading and the ham again. Nearby, officers found Del Sol and Andino at a rest area. Their trailers had goods that matched the stolen items from Minnesota and South Dakota.

The police arrested the men in Miami. They got out on bail and are now waiting for their court dates, as stated by Izaguirre at the time of the report.

Repercussions & Reflection

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The discovery of this operation had implications beyond just the immediate crime. It raised questions about security standards in industries that might not be perceived as high-risk. The meat industry, and others like it, had to reconsider their security measures.

Despite their careful planning, the trio couldn’t evade the law forever. The magnitude of their operation meant increased attention, and eventually, their spree came to an end.

No Industry Is Immune

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This case, while unique, serves as a reminder of the evolving crime landscape. In a world where cybercrimes are prevalent, traditional heists when executed with modern strategies, can still make headlines.

It also emphasizes the importance of security across all sectors, highlighting that no industry is truly immune. The story of the three men from Miami underscores the lengths individuals might go to, driven by various motivations, and the importance of vigilance in preventing such incidents.

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Sources

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This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter.

  1. .ice.gov/news/releases/several-arrested-following-hsi-omaha-lancaster-county-sheriffs-office-law-enforcement
  2. washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/10/27/florida-meat-theft-truckers/
Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.