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Police arrest men suspected of stealing and selling $300,000 worth of avocados

Three men were arrested Wednesday after authorities say they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of avocados from an avocado facility in Ventura County.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Detectives from across the county served four search warrants at the three suspect’s residences and the Mission Produce facility on Dufau Road where the three men all worked.

The three suspects have been identified as Joseph Valenzuela, 38, of Santa Paula, Carlos Chavez, 28, of Oxnard and Rahim Leblanc, 30, of Oxnard.

The three men will likely face charges for grand theft.

The investigation began in late May after allegations were made by employees at the facility. The three suspects were believed to be involved in unauthorized cash sales of avocados from the facility.

Mission Produces estimates the total value of stolen avocados to be over $300,000.

Detectives have determined that illegal sales had taken place over a number of months and unknowing customers may have inadvertently purchased the stolen avocados.

Anyone who believes they may have purchased avocados from the Mission Produce facility on Dufau Road in the last few months is asked to contact the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office at (805) 654-9511.

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