Two Miami men have been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for stealing ventilators bound for a COVID-19 intensive care center in El Salvador as part of a U.S. aid program, officials said.
The ventilators, worth $3 million and owned by the United States Agency for International Development, were stolen in South Florida, according to a news release sent Friday by the U.S. Attorney's Office South District of Florida.
Yoelvis Denis Hernandez, 42, who was also known as “Guajiro,” and Luis Urra Montero, 25 and also known as “Flaco,” pleaded guilty to theft of government property. Montero was sentenced this week, while Hernandez was sentenced in December, the news release said.
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Court documents show the pair stole a tractor loaded with 192 medical ventilators that were being transported to Miami International Airport on Aug. 9, 2020.
The ventilators had been acquired by USAID and were en route to El Salvador to treat critically ill patients.
Prosecutors said Hernandez and Montero stole the trailer from a lot where the driver had left it overnight. Following an investigation, federal agents recovered most of the stolen ventilators.