Three Lexington men were arrested Friday following an investigation of stores selling merchandise stolen from Kroger, police said.
Mufeed Ayyad, 48, was arrested and charged with engaging in organized crime and possession of a handgun, according to a news release from Kentucky State Police.
Nikel Ildemar, 43, was arrested and charged with engaging in organized crime, police said. Joao Batista Da Silva, 52, was also taken into custody, though police didn't say why.
Ayyad was arrested after a search warrant was executed at the Florence Food Mart on Florence Road in Lexington. A semi-automatic handgun was found at the register, according to state police. Ildemar and Da Silva were arrested after a search warrant was executed at Nikel's Food Mart on Paris Pike in Lexington.
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As of Friday night and according to jail records, Ayyad was released on a $28,000 full cash bond. He's scheduled to be appear in court Wednesday afternoon.
Ildemar and Silva were each being held in the Fayette County jail on a $20,000 full cash bond. They are scheduled to appear in court Monday.
State police, Alcohol Beverage Control, Kroger Loss Prevention and the Lexington Police Department participated in the investigation, which included undercover purchases.
The investigation of stolen goods from Kroger continues and more charges are expected, according to state police.
Friday's raid at Nikel's Food Mart is at least the third alleged crime ring to be broken up by police in the last year, according to Herald-Leader archives.
Kentucky State Police and several federal agencies raided Progress Market and Eastland Foodmart in May in a collaborative effort to return stolen merchandise from Kroger.
After the raids, police charged three people with organized crime.
Kroger's loss prevention officials identified several energy drinks as stolen goods from the grocery chain.