3 Men Arrested in Avocado Heist Worth $300,000

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Some people just can’t get enough guacamole.

With avocado prices skyrocketing, it’s hard to blame employees of leading avocado distributor Mission Produce for feeling at least a dollop of temptation to lift a box or two of green gold from the company.

But three such employees, Carlos Chavez, Rahim Leblanc, and Joseph Valenzuela, allegedly got greedy and caught in the process, according to the Associated Press.

Chavez, Leblanc, and Valenzuela were arrested on Wednesday on charges that they’d been siphoning avocados from Mission Produce’s plant in Oxnard, California, and selling them backdoor. Police began investigating the operation after receiving an anonymous tip in May.

According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Mission Produce estimated the trio had made off with about $300,000 worth of the fruit before their arrest. Each man’s bail was set at $250,000.

In April, Bloomberg reported that a 22-pound box of Hass avocados from Michoacan, Mexico, the nation’s greatest producer of avocados, cost $27.89. That’s more than double the price from a year earlier.

“We take these kinds of thefts seriously. It’s a big product here and in California,” Sgt. John Franchi of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office told the Los Angeles Times. “Everybody loves avocados.”


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