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Four Plead Guilty to Theft of Tractor Trailer Carrying Tequila

Alberto Jesus Obaya | Courts | Crime

The Patron tequila, valued at more than $500,000,  was an interstate shipment from Texas that was en route to a business in Lakeland when it was stolen in Tampa.

TAMPA – A Plant City man was one of four defendants who pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing a tractor-trailer containing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Patron tequila.

Alberto Obaya, 48, of Plant City; Lemuel Escobar, 37, of Clermont; Humberto Ramirez, 39, of Mascotte; and Vidal Estrada, 68, of Fort Lauderdale, each pleaded guilty to charges involving cargo theft of an interstate shipment of goods, and receipt and possession of stolen goods. Each faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida said a sentencing date has not been set.

According to court documents, on Dec. 30, 2018, Escobar, Ramirez, Obaya, and Estrada stole a tractor trailer that was parked near U.S. 301 in Tampa. The trailer contained cases of Patron tequila, with a value of more than $500,000. The tequila was an interstate shipment from Texas that was en route to a business in Lakeland. The shipment had not reached its final destination when the trailer was stolen.

The trailer was taken to Thonotosassa where the defendants proceeded to move cases of the tequila from the trailer to a nearby box truck that was registered to Escobar.

Deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office were alerted to the movement of the trailer and, when they arrived on scene, the deputies saw the defendants moving the cases of tequila from the trailer to the box truck. When the deputies commanded the men to stop, they fled but were later arrested near the scene. The cases of tequila were recovered.

PHOTO SHOWS ALBERTO OBAYA.

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