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Smuggling Gone Sour: California Man Arrested With 800 Pounds of 'Stolen' Lemons

Cops busted the alleged citrus crook in a traffic stop along Grapefruit Boulevard.

By Noah Hurowitz

Talk about forbidden fruit.

A California senior citizen was busted last week for hauling a major load of stolen lemons after a traffic stop at a coincidentally citrus-themed intersection, according to police.

Dionicio Fierros, 69, was pulled over Friday morning at the intersection of Grapefruit Boulevard and Pierce Street, on a rural stretch of highway in Thermal, Calif., carrying 800 pounds of the freshly picked produce.

Fierros is accused of lifting the lemons from a nearby farm, according to a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

After determining that the smuggled sours did not belong to Fierros, officers cuffed him and booked him at the Larson Justice Center jail in Indio, Calif., on charges of theft of agricultural products, police said.

He was released on $10,000 bail on Saturday, online court records show.

Police said Fierros' arrest was part of a larger investigation into recent agricultural thefts in the area, which is located in the Coachella Valley between the Salton Sea and Palm Springs, but did not specify whether or not Fierros had been linked to other thefts. It was not immediately clear why deputies had initially pulled him over.

Documents do not currently show whether Fierros, who hails from Los Angeles, has hired a defense attorney. He is due back in court in October, according to online records.

Armando Munoz, an investigator with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, told the Los Angeles Times that large-scale fruit thefts in the are are relatively rare, but that farmers do sometimes notify police when larger amounts of produce go missing.

[Photo: Riverside County Sheriff’s Department]

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