OMAHA, NEB. (WJON News) -- Authorities say $9 million worth of meat was stolen in a number of Midwestern states - including Minnesota - by an organized crime ring.

Officials began investigating a report of several stolen semi-trailers and loads of frozen beef in Nebraska in June.  The initial investigation estimated the total loss was $1 million.

However, since June the Homeland Security Investigation and local Sheriff's Offices have identified about 45 thefts that have occurred across Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

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The highly sophisticated organized crime enterprise is based out of Miami, Florida and has been targeting beef and pork packaging plants.

Three people were recently arrested in Miami and three tractor trailers were recovered with about $550,000 worth of meat in them.

Ghost Towns of Benton County

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