This case has been cracked wide open.
During a routine audit at California’s Touchstone Pistachio Company discovered 42,000 pounds of their precious green seeds were missing. Following their revelation, the company requested an investigation by Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Agricultural Crimes Unit into the possible theft.
The TCSO shared the sleuthing process that resulted in them discovering that the tractor trailer containing their pistachios had been moved from the Montemayor Trucking lot in Delano to a nearby lot.
The culprit? 34-year-old Alberto Montemayor of Montemayor trucking, who planned on moving the pistachios from 2000 pound sacks into smaller bags for re-sale. The recovered pistachios were safely returned to Touchstone Pistachio Company.
This was just one of many nut-busts by the TCSO in the last year. In August 2020, they recovered more than $350,000 in allegedly stolen pistachios and trailers in a raid at “Setton Pistachio” in Terra Bella. These two cases are just the outer shell of a deeper illegal nut trade in California, where thieves threaten the $5.2 billion industry. At the peak of the black market trade between 2014 and 2017, the industry lost more than $7 million worth of nuts.
Listen, do you know how expensive pistachios are? Who among us would not consider buying black market pistachios for less than $10 a bag?