4 Florida men accused of stealing over $500,000 in tequila

/ CBS/AP

Sheriff's deputies in Florida recovered a half-million dollar truckload of stolen tequila early on New Year's Eve. Police arrested four men ranging in age from 35 to 66.

Hillsborough sheriff's spokesman Danny Alvarez said in a statement that a truck driver hauling the load of tequila had stopped for dinner Sunday night at a Tampa-area truck stop when he noticed the trailer was no longer attached to his truck. Deputies began searching and found the semi-trailer at a nearby intersection at around 12:30 a.m.

Alvarez said deputies watched the four men transferring cases of Patron tequila to another box truck. He said that before the deputies moved in, the men had transferred over 20 cases from the fully loaded truck.

The men were identified as Lemuel Escobar, 35; Vidal Estrada, 66; Alberto Obaya, 46; and Humberto Ramirez, 37. Authorities arrested three men at the scene and Escobar fled but was arrested a short time later.

Alvarez said the load of tequila was worth more than $500,000.

First published on December 31, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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