Do you think that organized theft operations only target large stores, national chains, and densely populated metropolitan areas? Think again. Organized retail crime teams can strike anywhere and can impact just about any products in every market in the country, only limited by the ambitions and ingenuity of those involved.
Recently, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation into the theft of several semi-trailers and loads of frozen beef in Lancaster County, Nebraska. As part of the initial investigation, the estimated loss was found to be approximately $1 million. However, as the case continued to develop, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, working in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Omaha, has thus far identified approximately 45 related thefts that occurred across Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, totaling $9 million in loss.
The investigation, led by the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office and HSI Omaha’s Major Crimes Task Force, determined that a highly sophisticated, Miami-based organized criminal enterprise targeted beef and pork packaging plants in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
On Oct. 20, 2022, HSI Omaha, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Highway Patrol, assisted by HSI Miami – El Dorado Task Force South, identified and arrested three principal targets in the organized criminal enterprise, recovering three tractor trailers full of stolen merchandise valued at $550,000. Three suspects were arrested as a result, including Yoslany Leyva Del Sol, Ledier Machin Andino, and Delvis L. Fuentes, all from the Miami area. The three were arrested for transportation of stolen goods and money laundering.
More to come, as the investigation remains ongoing.