Man Arrested For Stealing 192 Ventilators Meant For Critically ill COVID-19 Patients In El Salvador

Officials say a Florida man was detained for Stealing 192 Ventilators designed to serve extremely ill COVID-19 patients in El Salvador.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida announced Friday that Yoelvis Denis Hernandez, 42, was arrested Thursday in Del Rio, Texas, on a South Florida indictment for allegedly stealing a tractor-trailer loaded with 192 medical ventilators on Aug. 9, 2020, as they were being transported by truck to Miami International Airport.

Officials estimated that the ventilators were worth around $3 million.

In the indictment, he was charged with federal conspiracy, possession of stolen items being sent interstate, and theft of government property, along with an accused accomplice, Luis Urra Montero, 24.

According to the criminal complaint, Hernandez assisted in the detachment of a trailer truck housing the ventilators from a tractor at 1:47 a.m. in a warehouse parking lot in Boynton Beach, Florida.

The trailer had been left unattended for the night. According to the complaint, the vehicle was supposed to bring the ventilators to Miami International Airport, where they would be sent to El Salvador.

Authorities stated the ventilators were being shipped to a COVID-19 intensive care hospital in El Salvador as part of a US government COVID-19 aid program.

According to court records, the truck driver reported the trailer theft. According to court filings, the majority of the ventilators were eventually found, according to the Southern Florida US Attorney’s Office.

The FBI offered a $5,000 reward for information on Hernandez’s location in the cargo heist in September and posted a picture of him on social media.

Hernandez appeared in federal court for the first time in the Western District of Texas on Friday, and the case will now be heard in the Southern District of Florida. Hernandez’s lawyer could not be found right away.

Montero was arrested in Florida in September and is being held without bond awaiting his trial, according to police. Montero’s lawyer has been contacted by ABC News for comment.

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