Officials from Tulare, Kern and Fresno counties busted what they said was an illicit fruit packing operation in Kern County this week. Photo contributed

published on August 8, 2018 - 1:09 PM
Written by David Castellon

Authorities say they recovered an estimated $75,000 worth of grape-packing material stolen from businesses in Tulare, Fresno and Kern counties.

Investigators from the sheriff’s departments in Tulare and Kern worked together on the case and on Monday recovered the items from an “illicit” fruit-packaging business operating in Kern County, according to a Tulare County Sheriff’s press release.

“What started out as a small quantity quickly grew to the discovery of numerous pallets containing hundreds of boxes of grape-packaging bags and Styrofoam boxes,” the release continues.

Detectives believed the items were stolen from Mr. Box, Inc. based in Richgrove, Styrotech, Inc. in the Delano area; Mid Valley Packaging and Supply in Fowler; and JS Ag Packaging, Inc. in Shafter. Representatives of those businesses were contacted to identify the suspected stolen items.

Sheriff’s officials reported on Tuesday two arrests in the case and that the suspects had been charged criminally in Kern County, but the release offered no names or home cities of the suspects, nor were the charges listed.

Detectives are pursuing investigative leads to recover additional packaging materials that had been illicitly purchased, states the press release, which goes on to ask anyone who purchased grape-packaging materials from illicit sellers to call Tulare County Sheriff’s Detective Andrew Diaz or Sgt. Chad Rhyman at (559) 735-1898.

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