A Florida man has been arrested in connection with the theft of nearly 200 ventilators intended for critically ill Covid-19 patients in Central America, federal prosecutors said.
Yoelvis Denis Hernandez, 42, was arrested in Del Rio, Texas, Thursday, according to a statement from the US Attorney for the Southern District of Flcrida.
The indictment charges him and another man, Luis Urra Montero, 24, with federal conspiracy, possession of stolen goods being shipped interstate and theft of government property.
Montero, who was arrested in September 2020 in Florida, is detained without bond pending trial, according to the statement.
It’s unclear if Hernandez has an attorney. A lawyer listed in court documents as representing Montero did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The two men are accused of stealing a tractor trailer carrying 192 ventilators from a lot at Miami International Airport on August 9, 2020, according to the indictment.
The ventilators, acquired by the United States Agency for International Development, were to be transported to an intensive care unit in El Salvador as part of an aid program, the criminal complaint said.
The trailer was stolen from a lot where it was parked overnight. Law enforcement later recovered most of the ventilators, according to the court documents.
The ventilators are worth about $3 million, the complaint said.
Hernandez’s initial court appearance occurred in the Western District of Texas on Friday, but the case will be prosecuted in the Southern District of Florida.
El Salvador has had more than 2,200 coronavirus deaths, according to the World Health Organization.