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Worthington's JBS among targets of $9 million meat packing theft ring

3 men were arrested after an investigation identified 45 thefts targeting beef and pork packaging plants across the Midwest.

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Worthington's JBS pork processing plant, the community's largest employer with approximately 2,200 workers, is shown April 14, 2020. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)
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LINCOLN, Neb. — Three individuals were arrested in connection with a multi-million dollar theft ring targeting beef and pork packaging plants across the Midwest, including Worthington’s JBS.

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According to a press release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 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.

Since June 2021, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigation Omaha, has identified approximately 45 thefts that reportedly occurred across Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, totaling $9 million in losses.

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Following the theft of two semi-tractors and trailers loaded with beef valued at approximately $232,666 and $157,380 from Emerald, Nebraska, three individuals were identified as persons of interest after a phone analysis reportedly registered Delvis L. Fuentes, of Miami Gardens, Florida, in the area of thefts at the approximate time they were reported to take place.

Yoslany Leyva Del Sol, of Hialeah, Florida, and Ledier Machin Andino of Miami, Florida, were subsequently identified by analyzing Fuentes’ phone records, according to a criminal complaint. Each of the men possesses a valid Class A commercial driver's license.

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Through GPS tracking, law enforcement observed a pattern of thefts across the Midwest involving vehicles reportedly driven by Fuentes, Del Sol and Andino, including thefts that occurred in Worthington and Pipestone.

On Oct. 15, three semi-tractors previously connected to Fuentes, Del Sol and Andino were reportedly located in Worthington. The following day, law enforcement learned that two semi-tractors and two trailers were allegedly stolen from JBS in Worthington. Each trailer contained 22 pallets of pork valued at approximately $150,000.

That same day, law enforcement learned that two semi-tractors and three electric pallet jacks were reported stolen from Pipestone Veterinary Services Overstock warehouse in Pipestone.

On Oct. 20, HSI Omaha, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Highway Patrol, assisted by HSI Miami - El Dorado Task Force South, identified and arrested Fuentes, Del Sol and Andino. The three were arrested under 18 U.S. Code 2314 Transportation of Stolen Goods and 18 U.S. Code 1956 Money Laundering. Three tractor-trailers were reportedly recovered with stolen merchandise valued at $550,000.

As of Oct. 26, this investigation is ongoing and part of the HSI Omaha and Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Task Force.

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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