LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — An investigation into the theft this summer of several semitrailers loaded with frozen beef from Nebraska has led to arrests and uncovered a multimillion-dollar theft ring targeting meatpacking plants in six Midwestern states, federal authorities said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported Tuesday that the discovery of the Miami-based theft ring began in June with a Nebraska investigation into the theft of several semitrailers loaded with nearly $1 million in frozen beef from areas near Grand Island and Lincoln.
The investigation, led by the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office in Nebraska and Homeland Security’s Major Crimes Task Force in Omaha, determined that the theft ring was targeting beef and pork packaging plants in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
On Oct. 20, investigators arrested three Miami men on suspicion of transporting stolen goods and money laundering. They face charges in federal court in Florida. Information on whether the men have attorneys representing them in the case could not immediately be found Wednesday.
Investigators said they have identified approximately 45 thefts that occurred across the six Midwest states totaling $9 million in losses.
According to a release from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the three tractor-trailers that were recovered contained stolen merchandise valued at $500,000.
The release stated that police arrested Yoslany Leyva De Sol, 38, Ledier Machin Andino, 39, and Delvis Fuentes, 37, all from Miami, for their connection to the crime.
Ariel Pokett contributed to this story.