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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Friday June 16th, 2017 :: 12:10 p.m. PDT


Grand Theft of Avocados Arrest



Nature of Incident: Arrest for Grand Theft of Avocados
Report Number: 17-78907
Location: Mission Produce, Dufau Road Facility, Unincorporated Ventura County
Date & Time: June 14, 2017
Unit(s) Responsible: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age

(V) Mission Produce

(S) Joseph Valenzuela Santa Paula 38
(S) Carlos Chavez Oxnard 28
(S) Rahim Leblanc Oxnard 30


On 06/14/17, Ventura County Sheriff’s Detectives from the Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Ojai, and Headquarters Stations, along with detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Services Division, served four search warrants throughout Ventura County. The warrants were served on the suspects’ work location (Mission Produce’s Dufau Road Facility), as well as at all three suspects’ residences. The warrants resulted in the arrests of the three suspects listed above. All three were employees of Mission Produce, and all three worked at a facility on Dufau Road, in the unincorporated area of Ventura County that is patrolled by deputies from the Sheriff’s Camarillo station.

Detectives began their investigation in late May (2017). Allegations were made that employees at Mission Produce’s Dufau Road ripening facility were conducting unauthorized cash sales of avocados from the facility. During the investigation, detectives obtained evidence that confirmed the allegations. They also learned that the illegal sales had likely been occurring for several months. The victim (Mission Produce) estimated the value of the stolen avocados at over $300,000.00.

The investigation is ongoing as Sheriff’s Detectives are looking into the possibility that the suspects sold the avocados to unknowing customers, who thought they were paying Mission Produce for the fruit. 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.

Prepared by: Detective L. Johnson #3961
News Release Date: 6/15/2017
Media Follow-Up Contact: Sergeant Franchi (805) 947-9363
Approved by: Captain J. Paris

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93009

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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