WICHITA, KAN. – Two defendants from North Hollywood, Calif., have pleaded guilty in a scheme to steal a load of processed beef from a meatpacker in southwest Kansas, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Oganes Nagapetian, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit interstate shipment fraud. His brother, Tigran Nagapetian, 50, pleaded guilty to one count of knowing about the crime and attempting to conceal it from authorities.
In his plea Oganes Nagapetian admitted that in November 2011 he and other conspirators began planning to steal a load of packaged beef valued at $87,500 from the Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., plant in Holcomb, Kan. First, an unidentified co-conspirator faxed documents from California to a freight broker in Ohio to bid on a contract to haul the load from Holcomb to Vernon, Calif. The conspirators pretended to represent Alan J. Doyle Trucking. On Nov. 3, 2011, Oganes Nagapetian posed as a driver for the company and dropped off a 55-foot refrigerated trailer at the Tyson plant to be loaded with beef and shipped to a meat wholesaler in Vernon, Calif.
Oganes Nagapetian was accompanied by his brother, Tigran Nagapetian. What the defendants did not know was that the freight broker had become suspicious and notified the FBI, which was monitoring the attempt to pick up the load. On Nov. 4, 2011, while waiting for the trailer to be loaded, the defendants became suspicious that they were under surveillance by law enforcement and fled the area in a tractor they had used to drop of the trailer. A Kansas Highway Patrol officer stopped the tractor about an hour later on US 83 in Haskell Country. In the truck, investigators found documents used in the crime. Tigran Nagapetian told troopers that he and his brother were headed to Oklahoma to purchase a trailer, which he knew was not true. He did not make known to law enforcement that Oganes had attempted to steal a trailer of packaged meat.
Sentencing is set for Jan. 27. Oganes Nagapetian faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. Tigran Nagapetian faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.Grissom commended the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General, the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. and its Cargo Cats unit, the Finney County, Kan., Sheriff’s Dept., the California Highway Patrol Cargo Theft Interdiction Program, the National White Collar Crime Center, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson for their work on the case.