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Grand theft avocado: 3 arrested in $300K California theft

18 Juin 2017

Joseph Valenzuela, Carlos Chavez, and Rahim Leblanc were arrested by Ventura County Sheriff's deputies for selling some $300,000 in stolen avocados.

Three employees at a produce processing facility in Ventura County were arrested this week after detectives uncovered an illegal avocado sales operation at the location, officials said Friday. In particular, they are suspected of stealing avocados from their employer, Mission Produce in Ventura County, for resale.

Thirty-eight-year-old Joseph Valenzuela, 28-year-old Carlos Chavez and 30-year-old Rahim Leblanc were each charged with grand theft of fruit and were being held in jail on bail of $250,000 each.

Avocados are important to Californians - so much so that they were the subject of a grand theft investigation that led to multiple arrests this week in Southern California.

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Anyone who purchased avocados from the Mission Produce facility on Dufau Road within the last few months is encouraged to contact Sheriff's Detective David Boynton at 805-388-5100.

So why steal and sell avocados, specifically? As noted by the Washington Post, avocado prices are now the highest they have ever been on record.

"You have increased consumption in China and other areas of the world, like Europe", Roland Fumasi, an analyst at Rabobank in Fresno, California, told Bloomberg.

Valenzuela, Chavez, and Leblanc are now being held at Ventura County jail with bail set at $250,000 each.

Grand theft avocado: 3 arrested in $300K California theft