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The Los Angeles County sheriff s Industrial Plastic Theft Task Force arrested eight people and recovered more than $115,000 worth of allegedly stolen plastic from Broadway Plastics in the 2000 block of Lee Avenue in South El Monte, as well as at a home in the 3500 block of Virginia Street in Lynwood on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2012.

SOUTH EL MONTE - A sheriff's task force Wednesday arrested eight employees of a plastics recycling business after recovering more than $115,000 worth of stolen soft drink pallets.

Those arrested worked at Broadway Plastics, located in the 2000 block of Lee Avenue. The evening raid occurred at the South El Monte recycling business and at a Lynwood home in the 3500 block of Virginia Street, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said in a written statement.

Arrested were: Carlos Torres, 41, of Lynwood, who is accused of masterminding the operation; Torres' wife, Cecilia Torres, 38, of Lynwood; their daughter, Carmen Torres, 18, of Lynwood; their son-in-law Joshua Barragan, 19, of Lynwood; son-in-law Alex Merino, 27, of Pico Rivera; Broadway Plastics owner Jason Wang, 46, of Temple City; Jesus Martinez, 23, of Compton; and Jose Gomez, 42, of El Monte, Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Nabeel Mitry said.

All of the suspects worked at the recycling business, Mitry said. Five of those arrested are family members, he added.

Officials described them as five family members, as well as two employees and the owner of the South El Monte recycling business. They were booked on suspicion of receiving stolen property.

The allegedly stolen plastics include pallets and crates used to transport products such as Dr. Pepper and Snapple, authorities said.

At the South El Monte location, "Stolen trademarked plastic products were being stowed, ground and primed to be sold," according to the sheriff's statement. "Some of the products were still intact, while some had already been ground.


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The investigation and arrests were the result of an investigation by the sheriff's Industrial Plastic Theft Task Force, based out of the sheriff's Industry Station.

According to Los Angeles County booking records, the eight suspects were being held in lieu of $20,000 bail each pending their scheduled arraignment Friday in El Monte Superior Court.


brian.day@sgvn.com
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