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Four men stole $500,000 in Patrón tequila from a Tampa truck stop, deputies say

Hillsborough sheriff’s deputies arrested four men early Monday after catching them loading boxes of pilfered tequila from a stolen trailer into a box truck in the Thonotosassa area. [Photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office]
Hillsborough sheriff’s deputies arrested four men early Monday after catching them loading boxes of pilfered tequila from a stolen trailer into a box truck in the Thonotosassa area. [Photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office]
Published Dec. 31, 2018

TAMPA — Hillsborough sheriff's deputies say four men stole a trailer loaded with a half-million worth of tequila Sunday night from a Tampa truck stop.

The theft happened about 11 p.m. when a truck driver stopped for an evening meal at the Tampa Truck Stop at 6503 N US Highway 301. The trucker noticed his trailer was no longer attached to his rig and phoned the sheriff's office.

Deputies searched the area and spotted the trailer parked about 12:30 a.m. near Ike Smith Road and McIntosh Road in Thonotosassa. Four men were moving cases of Patrón tequila from the trailer to another box truck, sheriff's officials said.

The men had transferred about 20 cases by the time deputies stopped them.

The arrested men were Vidal Estrada, 66; Lemuel Escobar, 35; Humberto Ramirez, 37; and Alberto Obaya, 46. Each faces charges of grand theft, burglary, and resisting an officer without violence.

Deputies said they recovered about 966 cases of Patrón tequila, with a retail value of $507,105.

Contact Dan Sullivan at dsullivan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386. Follow @TimesDan.