News Story


Arrest for Grand Theft of Avocados
6/15/2017 8:00:00 PM


Nature of Incident:

Arrest for Grand Theft of Avocados

Report Number:



Mission Produce, Dufau Road Facility, Unincorporated Ventura County

Date & Time:

June 14, 2017

Unit(s) Responsible:

Ventura County Sheriff's Office


(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent

City of Residence

(V) Mission Produce


(S) Joseph Valenzuela

(S) Carlos Chavez

(S) Rahim Leblanc



Santa Paula





On 06/14/17, Ventura County Sheriff's Detectives from the Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Ojai, and Headquarters Stations, along with detectives from the Sheriff's Special Services Division, served four search warrants throughout Ventura County.   The warrants were served on the suspects' work location (Mission Produce's Dufau Road Facility), as well as at all three suspects' residences.  The warrants resulted in the arrests of the three suspects listed above. All three were employees of Mission Produce, and all three worked at a facility on Dufau Road, in the unincorporated area of Ventura County that is patrolled by deputies from the Sheriff's Camarillo station.

Detectives began their investigation in late May (2017).   Allegations were made that employees at Mission Produce's Dufau Road ripening facility were conducting unauthorized cash sales of avocados from the facility.  During the investigation, detectives obtained evidence that confirmed the allegations.  They also learned that the illegal sales had likely been occurring for several months.  The victim (Mission Produce) estimated the value of the stolen avocados at over $300,000.00.

The investigation is ongoing as Sheriff's Detectives are looking into the possibility that the suspects sold the avocados to unknowing customers, who thought they were paying Mission Produce for the fruit.   Anyone who purchased avocados from the Mission Produce facility on Dufau Road within the last few months is encouraged to contact Sheriff's Detective David Boynton at (805) 388-5100. 


Prepared by:

Detective L. Johnson #3961


News Release Date:



Media Follow-Up Contact:

Sergeant Franchi (805) 947-9363


Approved by:

Captain J. Paris