Beer-bandit arrest reveals broader operations

A trio of DalyCity men suspected of masterminding a series of thefts of 18 tractor-trailers, loaded with such merchandise as refrigerators, instant noodles and furniture, were arrested recently but authorities said a handful of fellow bandits remain on the loose in the Bay Area.

California Highway Patrol officers charged Carlos “Peru” Demartini, Etuimo “Cubano” Rodriguez and Carlos “El Guardia” Iraheta with stealing trailers from unsecured trucking yards and delivery points in the East Bay — including Home Depot — and then storing the loot in a warehouse near Cesar Chavez Street and Interstate Highway 280 in San Francisco, CHP Sgt. Ward Radelich said. Authorities said they recovered more than $2 million in merchandise.

“A few years ago we had a theft of Fox backpacks,” Radelich said. “And then, in May of 2007, we arrested people with a 53-foot trailer of Top Ramen, which led us to the rest of the crew.”

Police said the trio sold more than $2 million in wine, Nabisco products and Home Depot merchandise. Many of the stolen items — which also included ovens, wine bottles and Crate and Barrel furniture — were sold to local mom-and-pop stores, authorities said. A truckload of Viking kitchen rangers were sold to Bay Area restaurants, Radelich said, and the CHP is in the process of recovering them.

Police said that the ring may have also sold many items on eBay, repackaging and shipping them to Central America. They said that profits were sent to a Canadian bank before being redirected elsewhere, Radelich said.

Demartini was arrested in early February after allegedly selling distinctively bottled Corona beer to liquor stores in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, while Iraheta and Rodriguez were arrested Feb. 19 and 21, respectively. All three kept residences in Daly City.

The thieves used a stolen tractor to make off with the trailers, and grinding tools to break the trailers’ locks, Radelich said. He said a handful of fellow bandits remain on the loose throughout the Bay Area, but that Demartini, Rodriguez and Iraheta were the ringleaders.

Demartini and Rodriguez have both pleaded not guilty in San Mateo County court and remain in local custody, San Mateo County Deputy District Attorney Morley Pitt said.Iraheta will be arraigned in Alameda County court Wednesday, and is currently housed in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

Although federal and international law-enforcement agencies are not involved at this time, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is involved, and “all three of [the suspects’] citizenships are in question,” Radelich said.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

After the pandemic hit, Twin Peaks Boulevard was closed to vehicle traffic, a situation lauded by open space advocates. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
New proposal to partially reopen Twin Peaks to vehicles pleases no one

Neighbors say closure brought crime into residential streets, while advocates seek more open space

Protesters rally at the site of a proposed affordable housing project at 2550 Irving St. in the Sunset District on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Ming Vong/S.F. Examiner)
Sunset District affordable housing discussion flooded with ‘scare tactics and hysteria’

Project would provide 100 units, some of which would be designated for formerly homeless families

Members of the Sheriff’s Department command staff wore masks at a swearing-in ceremony for Assistant Sheriff Tanzanika Carter. One attendee later tested positive. 
Courtesy SFSD
Sheriff sees increase in COVID-19 cases as 3 captains test positive

Command staff among 10 infected members in past week

Rainy weather is expected in the coming week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Rainstorms, potential atmospheric river expected to drench Bay Area in coming week

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation Multiple rainstorms, cold temperatures some… Continue reading

U.S. Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s powerful reading was among the highlights of Inauguration Day. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Inauguration shines light in this never-ending shade

Here’s to renewal and resolve in 2021 and beyond

Most Read