The Cuban Yoelvis Denis Hernández, 42, was arrested in Texas after being accused of stealing 192 medical ventilators that the United States government had assigned to an intensive care center for Covid-19 in El Salvador.
A statement from the US Department of Justice indicates that the teams were on their way to the Central American country when the suspect seized them with the support of his compatriot Luis Urra Montero, 24, who was arrested in September last year.
Both are charged with federal conspiracy, possession of stolen goods shipped interstate, and theft of government property.
The note explains that Hernández and Montero, on August 9, 2020, stole a trailer truck with that number of fans, representing a value of 3 million dollars, when the unit was ready to go to Miami International Airport.
“According to court documents, Hernández and Montero stole the trailer from a lot where the driver had left it overnight. Following an investigation, the police recovered most of the stolen ventilators,” the statement said.
El Salvador currently registers 73,246 positive cases since the pandemic began and a total of 2,241 deaths.
The Justice Department added that Hernández has already appeared in federal court for the Western District of Texas. The court proceeding will continue in the Southern District of Florida where the case is pending.
The US authorities remind the public that any information about attempted fraud related to the current health crisis can be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud of the Department of Justice hotline 866-720-5721.
In September of last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) offered a reward of $5,000 in exchange for accurate information to arrest Hernández.
The reward increased to 10,000 when the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Agency for International Development also offered a reward for the same amount.
The Cuban had already been arrested for the robbery, but took advantage of his escape when he was released and was awaiting trial.
Critically ill Covid-19 patients are generally unable to breathe and require such ventilators to stay alive.
Its placement is very invasive, since a tube is installed in the trachea that connects to the circuit of the device to bring a flow of air to the body. This situation occurs in people with heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes or obesity.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.