Two Florida men were sentenced to federal prison for stealing a trailer loaded with medical ventilators as it was en route to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Miami residents Yoelvis Denis Hernandez, 42, and Luis Urra Montero, 25, have each been sentenced to 41 months in prison, according to a February 4, 2022, news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida.

Both men previously pleaded guilty to theft of government property.

Authorities say that on August 9, 2020, Hernandez and Montero stole a tractor trailer loaded with 192 ventilators as the vehicle was on the way to the Miami International Airport. Hernandez and Montero stole the truck from a lot where the driver left it overnight.

The ventilators were acquired by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of an aid program to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients in El Salvador. Most of the ventilators were recovered by authorities.

Montero was arrested on September 15, 2020. Hernandez was arrested in May 2021.

The FBI Miami, FBI Miami’s Major Theft Task Force, and USAID-OIG investigated this case, with assistance from Boynton Beach Police Department, Miami Dade Police Department, Medley Police Department, City of Miami Gardens Police Department, and Broward Sheriff’s Office.

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