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FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2014, file photo, avocado boxes are collected an avocado orchard in Michoacan, Mexico. Authorities in Mexico said on Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, that deforestation caused by the expansion of avocado orchards is much higher than previously thought. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)

Three men were arrested on charges of grand theft involving...fruits and veggies



'Eat your vegetables' may have been taken too literally by these three men in California.

They were arrested by Ventura County sheriff officials on charges of grand theft involving fruits and vegetables, according to USA Today. Authorities claim that the men are responsible for the unauthorized sale of nearly $300,000.

That's more than a lifetime supply of "omega-3s."

The three suspects were identified as Joseph Valenzuela, 38, of Santa Paula; Carlos Chavez, 28, of Oxnard; and Rahim Leblanc, 30, of Oxnard.

Officials arrested the alleged culprits on Wednesday after search warrants were issued at the facility where they work, Mission Produce, as well as their homes. 

The investigation, believe it or not, stretched back to May after officials were alerted about the possible unauthorized cash sale of avocados from Mission Produce, where the fruit is sent to ripen. They added that those buying the avocados "thought they were paying Mission Produce for the fruit."

As of Friday, the three men were being held at the Ventura County jail. Each of their bond has been set at $250,000.

The charges are particularly timely, considering avocado prices have soared in recent months. Due to an avocado shortage in California and Mexico, consumers have been paying nearly twice the usual cost for the fruit, the Washington Post reported. 

Increased demand isn't helping either. In 1989, the U.S. per capita consumption ranked in at 1.1 pounds, but rose to 7 pounds by 2014.

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