VENTURA COUNTY ( — Authorities in California say three men have been arrested in connection with the theft of avocados valued at over $300,000.

Detectives with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department served search warrants at the suspects’ homes, as well as their place of business.

According to authorities, the suspects were employed at Mission Produce on Dufau Road and are accused of conducting unauthorized cash sales of the avocados from the facility.

Authorities suspect that the unauthorized sales were likely occurring for months and estimated the value of the stolen avocados at over $300,000.

The suspects were identified by authorities as Joseph Valenzuela, 38, of Santa Paula; Carlos Chavez, 28, of Oxnard; and Rahim Leblanc, 30, of Oxnard.

The department says their investigation is ongoing.

Anyone who purchased avocados from the facility recently was asked to call Sheriff’s Det. David Boynton at (805) 388-5100.


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