50 years prison sentence given in fajita theft case

Fifty-three-year-old Gilberto Escamilla

A U.S. man has been sentenced to 50 years in jail for stealing $1.6 million worth of fajitas.

Escamilla was arrested a year ago when, in his absence, a driver from Labatt Food Service in Harlingen contacted the detention center's kitchen to let them know that their 800-pound delivery of fajitas had arrived, The Brownsville Herald noted.

Cameron County Assistant District Attorney Peter Gilman said in all of his years prosecuting theft cases he has never handled one like this, which amounted to around $1,251,578.

Gilberto Escamilla, 53, had been ordering fajita meat in his role at a juvenile detention centre in Texas, then selling them.

Things really started to sizzle when a driver called the kitchen at the juvenile center saying they had 800 pounds of fajitas to drop off.

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The Brownsville Herald reports he told the court the fajita scheme spun out of control.

After the driver spilled the beans, investigators found packages of fajitas in Escamilla's fridge where he reportedly sold the meat to separate buyers.

"It got to the point where I couldn't control it anymore", he said, adding that his actions were "selfish".

Texas State District Judge J. Manuel Banales, who handed down the sentence, dismissed an additional theft charge as part of an earlier plea deal made by Escamilla.

"We feel a strong message should be sent", Gilman said.

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