According to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, a California man was arrested for allegedly taking 42,000 pounds of pistachios off a local grower.
Employees at Touchstone Pistachio Company, Terra Bella, California noticed that several thousand pounds of their product was missing from their inventory. This is nearly enough to fill an entire tractor-trailer.
Touchstone reached out to the sheriff’s agricultural crime unit. After investigating several third-party companies that have interacted with Touchstone, and looking at surveillance footage, the department made the arrest of Alberto Montemayor (34). John England is the leader of the unit.
England stated that because these trucks transport pistachios worth one hundred to three hundred thousands dollars, there are some checks and balances. Some oversight is done.
Montemayor was a worker for Montemayor Trucking. Touchstone Pistachio Company had hired Montemayor Trucking as a contractor in this year’s contract.
England stated that nut thefts are more common then people think. This is because nuts can be traced easily, even outside of their packaging. The average person can’t tell the difference between a nut and another without a unique bar code or product number.
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California comprises over 99 percent of commercial pistachio production in the U.S., and the annual net farming value of pistachios represents more than $1.6 billion of California’s economy, according to American Pistachio Growers, a nonprofit trade association for California, Arizona and New Mexico.|California accounts for more than 99 percent of the U.S. commercial pistachio crop production. California’s annual net farm value of pistachios is over $1.6 billion, according to American Pistachio Growthers, a non-profit trade association representing California, Arizona, and New Mexico.}
England stated that the theft was serious, but his unit responded to a much larger loss last year.
He said, “This one was more than $170,000.” “We bought one for $295,000 last fiscal year.”
The agricultural unit was able recover 40,000 pounds worth of the stolen pistachios that Montemayor had allegedly kept in a tractor-trailer.