Authorities in Ventura County, Calif., have charged a trucking company owner and two employees with grand theft and criminal conspiracy following an investigation into the theft of more than $700,000 worth of avocados this past growing season.
Castaneda Trucking was hired to take loads of avocados from growers to market, but the three men skimmed off portions of loads at a truck yard, the sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices said in a joint statement Tuesday, Nov. 14. The three-week investigation began with a tip to Index Fresh, one of two companies that hired Castaneda Trucking, authorities said.
Florentino Castaneda, 38, the owner, and employees Fortunato Mendoza, 46, and Francisco Ponce, 32, all residents of Ventura, were arrested Nov. 9, and prosecutors filed charges. Castaneda posted bail and was released, the Associated Press reported; his arraignment was scheduled for today, Nov. 17. Arraignments for Mendoza and Ponce were postponed Wednesday, Nov. 15, according to the AP.