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Three Plead Guilty In Stealing Meat Shipments
Posted by Nedda Alishahi on May 6, 2013 - 8:21:04 PM
Ruben Ashikyan. Photo courtesy of Amarillo Police Department
SHERMAN OAKS—On Thursday, May 2, three men pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal large shipments of meat from the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Amarillo, Texas. The three men areLevon Ashikyan of Glendale, Grigor Darmandjian of North Hollywood, and Ruben Ashikyan of Sherman Oaks. The men were taken into custody in February of this year after being caught in a sting operation at the Tyson plant.
The investigation first began in 2011 when officials learned that approximately $80,000 in meat was stolen by way of cargo shipments. Between April 2011 and February 2013, about 24 instances of stolen beef cargos were reported, 10 of which occurred in Amarillo. The estimated sum of lost meat products added up to between $700,000 and $4 million. A trucking company that was supposedly stationed in Michigan would take the shipments, but they never arrived at their destination.
After speaking with FBI, a meat broker in Amarillo agreed to contract with the alleged Michigan trucking company as part of an FBI sting operation. After the FBI set up surveillance and staked out the Tyson plant waiting for the supposed Michigan trucking company, agents arrested the three men on site.
It was later discovered that the men, who are all immigrants from Armenia, conspired with a woman, Lucy Mell, who had been posing as a dispatcher for the non-existent trucking company in Michigan. All three men were charged with conspiracy to steal interstate shipments, transportation of stolen goods, wire fraud, and stealing interstate shipments. Mell was charged with aiding and abetting on all counts.
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