CENTRAL FLORIDA - Several law enforcement agencies across central Florida began a joint investigation in 2012 after it was discovered that a group of people was stealing a large volume of baby formula from grocery stores, including Publix, Walmart, Winn Dixie and Target.
Authorities said the group would then sell the stolen formula to another person who would then sell the product to smaller groceries stores in Wisconsin and the North East.
""They would take these cloth bags, those reusable cloth bags, go to the aisle where the baby food is, fill them up in the bag then leave without paying and go out to usually a waiting car and drive away," said Jeff Newcomb of the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
After several months of surveillance, investigators identified more than a dozen suspects and began making arrests as part of Operation Got Milk.
Investigators said the group used Facebook and Craigslist to recruit thieves. The main buyer was identified as Juliana Guzman, who went by the title of Formula Mom on Facebook. Authorities said she used the page to get word out that she was buying stolen baby formula.
Investigators said over the years Guzman bought millions worth of formula, turning it around for a profit.
On the Facebook page, people would post the brands and amounts of formula they had to sell to Guzman, who lived in Brevard County.
Investigators identified about 15 people they said were stealing formula for Guzman in central Florida, many to get drug money.
Authorities expect more arrests to be made.
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