Pist Off: California Truck Driver Allegedly Stole Over 42,000 Lbs of Pistachios for Illicit’Re-Sale’ Scheme

Accused pistachio Burglar Alberto Montemayor

A delivery truck driver in California has been accused of stealing a trailer comprising tens of thousands of pounds of pistachios and conducting what appeared to be an illegal black market to the merchandise out of a trucking yard.
According to reports, the Touchstone Pistachio Company previously this month conducted a regular audit on its inventory and found that over 42,000 pounds of its main product had gone missing. The business reported the possible theft to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO), that started an investigation in the missing nuts. The BBC reported that gaming detectives in Tulare County worked together with investigators from two other counties to monitor the culprit for this shell game.
The TCSO on Saturday announced that investigators had found the missing pistachios and detained 34-year-old Alberto Montemayor, of Montemayor Trucking.
“Yesterday, investigative leads to Fresno and Kern County found the tractor trailer comprising the pistachios were moved out of the Montemayor Trucking lot in Delano to a nearby lot. Detectives discovered that the pistachios were being moved out of 2000-pound sacks into smaller totes for both re-sale,” the press release stated.
The sheriff’s office said that after being seized, the remaining pistachios were returned to the Touchstone Pistachio Company. The office did not define how much of the first 42,000 pounds remained in the trailers.
Montemayor was arrested and booked in Tulare County prison.
Law&Crime did not instantly get a response from the sheriff’s office as to if Montemayor had retained an attorney.
The pistachio nut is a significant aspect of California’s economy, together with all the nut accounting for approximately $5.2 billion in economic activity resulting in over 47,000 jobs, based on American Pistachio Growers, a nonprofit trade association representing pistachio farmers in California, New Mexico, and Arizona.
The Touchstone episode is likewise not initially an alleged thief in California has long targeted the profitable commodity in a planned heist. As demonstrated by a TCSO press release, Sekon’s scheme relied on him posing as a legitimate shipping service to secure contracts to deliver bulk shipments of pistachios which he picked up and kept for resale.
The Capital Press a year ago reported that the market for purloined nuts reached an all-time large between 2014 and 2017, when organized crime rings stole nearly $8 million worth of nuts in California. The commodity is very vulnerable to large scale thefts because unlike most other products, the nuts do not have serial numbers, making it especially tricky to track stolen shipments or trace the origins of a certain load.
[picture through Tulare County Sheriff’s Office]
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