County employee grilled in massive meat heist
Early one August morning, a food delivery truck arrived at the Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department in Texas, as it had so many times over the past decade, with the department kitchen's regular order of 800 pounds of fajita meat.1 Except this day was different: The driver was told the order must be a mistake because the kitchen doesn't serve fajitas. Never has.
This is how county employee Gilberto Escamilla's fajita meat scam was discovered. And all because he had taken the day off to go to a medical appointment.
While Escamilla sat in his doctor's waiting room, county employees scrambled to piece together records and ultimately discovered that over the nine-year period, Escamilla had stolen (and resold) $1.2 million in fajita meat from the juvenile justice center. When they searched his house, investigators found his refrigerator stuffed with fajita packets.
Escamilla is facing serious jail time for felony theft. District Attorney Luis Saenz wondered how to explain the theft to the taxpayers in Cameron County and noted, "If it wasn't so serious, you'd think it was a Saturday Night Live skit. But this is the real thing."