Police in Chandler, Arizona, have arrested a husband and wife accused of buying stolen baby formula and then selling it for a profit.
Authorities first became aware of the couple’s alleged activities back in September of 2018, Phoenix television station KTVK reported Tuesday.
They say 46-year-old Rafid Khoshi and his wife, 43-year-old Manal Sulaiman, were purchasing stolen baby formula from so-called “boosters,” or people who steal products intending to resell them.
Police say those “boosters” would shoplift baby formula from various grocery stores and big box stores around the Phoenix area, and then sell it to Khoshi and Manal for 30 to 50 cents on the dollar.
Khoshi and Sulaiman would then allegedly ship the stolen baby formula from their Chandler home to El Cajon and sell it to a local distributor for a profit.
Chandler police say Khoshi and Sulaiman recruited just over a dozen regular boosters from OfferUp.
The boosters allegedly supplied the couple with roughly 2,000 cans a month of brand-name baby formula, like Enfamil and Similac.
Police say one booster alone, 31-year-old Jesus Tirado Lara, sold more than $46,000 worth of product to Khoshi and Sulaiman. Lara was arrested for his alleged role in December 2018.
Another booster was an undercover Chandler detective.
During the undercover portion of this investigation, investigators made 12 separate transactions with Khoshi. The last sale consisted of an entire pallet of baby formula valued at over $15,000.
In all, detectives conclude Khoshi and Sulaiman shipped more than 25,000 cans of baby formula to California. That equates to around $425,000 in value.
On May 23, 2019, Khoshi and Sulaiman were arrested for their alleged involvement in these crimes.
Khoshi was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on 12 counts of trafficking in stolen property, 12 counts of theft, one count of conspiracy, one count of fraudulent schemes, one count of participating in a criminal syndicate and one count of illegal control of an enterprise.
Sulaiman was booked on two counts of trafficking in stolen property, two counts of theft, one count of conspiracy, one count of fraudulent schemes, one count of participating in a criminal syndicate, and one count of illegal control of an enterprise.
Along with Khoshi, Sulaiman, and Lara, detectives made 13 additional arrests during this investigation. These arrests were made up of the majority of the boosters who allegedly supplied Khoshi and Sulaiman with product.
“This investigation was one of our largest organized retail theft cases in terms of size and scope. The financial losses to the victims were great and so was the reach this criminal enterprise had in the community. I commend our Property Crimes detectives for their relentless pursuit to bring this investigation to a successful conclusion,” said Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan.