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LANCASTER COUNTY, Neb. – Three people have been arrested as part of an investigation into stolen beef that detectives said revealed a crime ring spanning several states.

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The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that it began investigating after several semi-trailers filled with stolen beef were stolen in Nebraska.

Over several days in June, multiple semi-trailers and loads of frozen beef were stolen from businesses in Nebraska in a series of crimes that investigators believed were linked, as we reported at the time.

Deputies said in the news release that since June, investigators working with the Department of Homeland Security identified a total of 45 thefts across Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin totaling $9 million in losses. Detectives described the thefts as a “highly sophisticated organized criminal enterprise” and said the ring was targeting beef and pork packaging plants.

Thieves in Nebraska steal trailers loaded with 160,000 pounds of beef

With assistance from federal agencies and Florida law enforcement agencies, Ledier Machin Andino, Delvis Fuentes and Yoslany Levya Del Sol were arrested and charged with transportation of stolen goods and money laundering.

Detectives said they were able to recover three semi-trailers and approximately $550,000 worth of merchandise, KLKN reported.

The three men are facing charges in federal court in Florida, and no information on attorneys representing them was available Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.