Tulare County deputies crack major agriculture case

Tulare County Sheriff’s Office catches pistachio thief trying to resell nearly $300,000 in stolen nuts; more arrests are expected

TULARE COUNTY – The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office cracked a major case last week when it foiled a major nut job.

Last Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Department announced it had recovered $294,000 in stolen pistachios, two trailers worth $60,000 and arrested at least one man in an elaborate scheme to resell the nuts that spanned three counties.

The case began at around noon on Aug. 14 when detectives with the Sheriff’s Department’s Ag Crimes unit responded to Setten Pistachio in Terra Bella for a possible cargo theft. The detectives learned the suspects stole the identity of a legitimate trucking company and used the company’s name to secure contracts for the delivery of two tractor- trailer loads of pistachios.

Instead of delivering the product, the suspects took the pistachios to an abandoned property in Selma in Fresno County, where they removed the packaging, dumped the nuts into agriculture crates with the intention of loading them and selling them to an unsuspecting buyer in Madera County.

The thieves legally obtained a semi-truck which they used to steal two trailers from a Fresno-area business and hauled them to the abandoned property in Selma. Luckily for detectives, the trailers were equipped with real time GPS devices. When ag detectives contacted the owner of the trucking company, which was unaware of the trailers were gone, the company was able to locate the trailers and lead detectives to the them and the stolen pistachios.

Detectives arrested 23-year-old Bhavna Singh Sekon of Fresno in connection with the theft, thanks to help from the Fresno and Madera County Sheriff’s offices, CHP, and Fresno Police Department. Sekon was found at his home and taken into custody and booked into the Tulare County Pretrial Facility on charges of Grand Theft, Looting, Identity Theft and Conspiracy after more evidence linking him to the thefts was found at his house. Additional arrests are anticipated.

Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact Detective Bryan De Haan or Sgt. Bryan Clower at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 1-800-808-0488 or anonymously at [email protected], or by text or voicemail at 559-725-4194.

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