LUTHER, Okla. (KFOR) – Three people have been arrested following the discovery of hundreds of Amazon packages dumped in rural Oklahoma County.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office found 600 opened Amazon packages on a rural road New Year’s Eve, and most of the parcels had things stolen out of them.
“We got a call from somebody who told us that there was some trash that was dumped there illegally,” said Aaron Brilbeck, with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
The mostly-empty packages were dumped near N. Harrah Road and 206th St., about halfway between Luther and Wellston.
The only things left behind were books, a calendar, and even a copy of the Quran.
“Every one of these packages was supposed to be delivered by Christmas Day,” Brilbeck said. “So, 600 people didn’t get their Christmas gifts as a result of this.”
Officials were able to determine that the packages left an Amazon facility, but never made it to the United States Postal Service.
Now, sheriff’s officials say they have made a break in the case.
Authorities have arrested three people tied to the theft ring, which spans multiple states.
While investigating the packages, deputies found a garbage bag at the scene that had an envelope with an address and a receipt from a local store.
Investigators obtained a warrant for a home in the 200 block of S. Birch St. in Luther. Once inside the home, officials found thousands of undelivered Amazon packages.
In fact, they say some were still wrapped on pallets.
Authorities say the packages were stored throughout the home in almost every room and even filled the storm shelter.
Investigators allege that Cesar Yasnier Cerqueira Rojas, an immigrant illegally in the US from Cuba, was working as a third-party driver for Amazon, using a truck owned by 37-year-old Dinneris Matos Delgado.
Detectives believe Rojas loaded the extra pallets on the truck and brought them to the home.
Officials also arrested 38-year-old Maikel Perez Laurencio. All three are facing 15 felony counts of possession of stolen property and embezzlement. Delgato is also facing a charge of possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
Kayla Lindsey lives across the street from the home where the stolen packages were found. She said the suspects moved in six months ago, and there were red flags after semi-trucks started showing up at the home.
“It immediately was really weird. We were scared to the point where we wouldn’t even let our children play outside,” Lindsey said. “Semi-trucks in and out all day. Um, sometimes they’d come around three in the morning.”
Lindsey said a group of women visited the house once a week and cleaned the trucks.
“It was a very unusual activity for a small town like this,” she said.
Investigators believe more charges will be filed.
Capt. Robert Tye says the sheriff’s office is working directly with Amazon in order to get the missing packages to their final destinations.
“Literally, we recovered thousands of packages yesterday that a 26-foot U-Haul box truck that they brought out there was packed completely full,” said Capt. Tye, with the sheriff’s office.
On Wednesday morning, Capt. Tye says they were alerted to a second dump site in the Luther area. As a result, he says he believes there will be more packages sent back to Amazon in the coming days.
Tye says that most of the packages recovered were not from the metro area, but he stresses Oklahomans should not call the sheriff’s office to determine if their package was recovered. He says all of them have been sent back to Amazon.