News and Press Releases

Six Arrested In Multi-State retail Theft Ring - Baby Formula Targeted

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2011

Greensboro, N.C. &ndash Six individuals who live in the High Point/Thomasville area were arrested yesterday on charges that they were involved in an alleged conspiracy to steal baby formula from retail stores in several southern states, announced United States Attorney Ripley Rand.

Mario Miguel Torres-Guillan, aka: Jorge Luis Robles-Rivera, age 31, Denia Lizbeth Martinez, age 27, Marco Antonio Ramirez-Iraheta, age 27, and Marvin Lopez-Lopez, age 32, were arrested in North Carolina. Two other members of the alleged conspiracy, Cris Alberto Paz, age 24, and Douglas Ivan Martinez, age 41, were arrested in Pennsylvania where they were in state custody. Special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) made the arrests pursuant to arrest warrants issued by the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

The Complaint charges the defendants with conspiring to transport stolen baby formula in interstate commerce. All of the defendants except for Mario Miguel Torres-Guillan, aka: Jorge Luis Robles-Rivera are also charged with the receipt and sale of stolen goods in interstate commerce. The charges carry a maximum potential penalty of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The defendants arrested in North Carolina appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge P. Trevor Sharp in Greensboro federal court and were detained. Detention hearings are scheduled for January 21, 2011.

According to the Complaint, from November 2009 to December 2010, the defendants stole baby formula from retail stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. The stolen product was collected in rented storage units in the High Point/Thomasville area and then transported in bulk to the Los Hermanos grocery store in Union City, New Jersey.

Ali Siyam (owner of Los Hermanos), Hamad Siyam, and Rawhi Siyam were arrested Thursday as part of the alleged ring on charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.

U.S. Attorney Rand praised the outstanding work of ICE HSI, the High Point, N.C., Police Department, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, and the Thomasville, N.C. Police Department for their contributions, which were instrumental to the investigation leading to the arrests.

The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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