HOUSTON (AP) — A Lebanese man has been accused of running an infant formula theft ring based in Texas. Wassim Hassan Elsaleh, also known as Sam Saleh, faced a court hearing Wednesday in Houston to secure an attorney. Federal prosecutors say the 36-year-old Elsaleh was arrested Tuesday on a charge of conspiracy to traffic in the interstate transportation of stolen goods. The six-count indictment says Elsaleh, a legal permanent resident from Lebanon who lives in Houston, ran the scam since 2012.
Investigators say Elsaleh knew people who stole infant formula and other products from drug stores, then sold him the items. Elsaleh allegedly had the labels removed, added new packaging and then sold and shipped the stolen goods to out-of-state wholesalers. Calls to a business associated with Elsaleh could not be completed Wednesday.