Man stole 192 ventilators intended for COVID-19 patients in El Salvador
Miami, Florida – According to the police reports hundreds of ventilators were stolen in August on their way to help critically ill COVID-19 patients in El Salvador. Now, the second man authorities were looking for in connection with that theft has been arrested in Del Rio, Texas, after months-long search.
Yoelvis Denis Hernandez, a.k.a. Guajiro, 42, of Miami, stole a tractor trailer loaded with 192 government-owned ventilators worth about $3 million in August, U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida say.
As part of a program to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients, the ventilators had been acquired by USAID and were to be sent to the government of El Salvador. But according to investigators before they could get there, they were intercepted by Hernandez and co-conspirator, Luis Urra-Montero, a.k.a. Flaco, 24.
While it was on its way to the Miami International Airport on Aug. 9, 2020, Hernandez and Montero stole a truck filled with the ventilators from a lot, where the driver had left it overnight.
Authorities found most of the stolen ventilators. Police say, Urra-Montero was arrested on September 15, 2020.
In 2019 Hernandez and Urra-Montero had been arrested in Collier County after stealing a semi-cab and trailer from Miami, and three weeks before that Hernandez had stolen a semi-cab loaded with $750,000 in laptops.